According to Brenden Schwartz, owner and creative director of multiple award-winning Bravo Design in Cape Town, it’s a recipe that can’t be reproduced, distilled from an ephemeral mix of quality, innovation and partnership.
Most recently, Bravo achieved top honours at the Wine Magazine Label Design Awards, a national design competition which awards the best label and packaging designs in the wine and spirit industry. Bravo walked away with the overall Grand Prix prize for its design work on Mossel Bay’s Cape Saint Blaize gins – a prize which Schwartz says mirrors the creative spirit thriving in Eden.
Just like the distilleries here, Bravo has come to be associated with an uncompromising attitude to excellence, a passion for innovation and a willingness to push the boundaries.
This ethos was central to the award-winning Cape Saint Blaize project. Bravo created a unique ceramic bottle representing the clean lines of the Cape Saint Blaize lighthouse and rugged coastline, offset with a clean design and high-quality labelling. On a thick, natural paper, the label embraces the Cape Saint Blaize logo and emphasises the ceramic design – created in three colours for each gin variant. The attention to detail in the final product is evident throughout – from the ceramic bottle cast on site at the distillery to the hand applied label and wooden stopper.
But what’s inside the bottle is only a small part of what goes into creating award-winning packaging, says Schwartz.
“We are constantly pushing boundaries. We understand innovation, and if we’re not innovating, we’re not happy. We’re not after awards – we’d rather be learning and creating a design beyond expectation. But it’s important to have the work acknowledged and for our clients to stand out among their peers,” says Schwartz.
This passion for innovation has developed a design team that is not afraid of taking risks and thrives when clients are willing to take those risks with them.
“Both parties have to be willing to push boundaries. The work we’ve won awards on has been the work we’ve done for clients willing to try something new, something different,” says Schwartz.
The spirit of innovation is certainly thriving on the Garden Route, with another of Bravo’s clients defying expectations. “The spirits renaissance on the Garden Route started with Inverroche, which defied expectations by bringing out an amber gin in a market used to a clear spirit. It was hugely disruptive,” recalls Schwartz.
But Inverroche is constantly refining its brand and product range – with everything from rums to ice cream exiting the distillery. “They are so entrepreneurial. It’s inspiring to see the pace at which they move. The brand never, ever stands still,” explains Schwartz. “Now we’re seeing new energy on the Garden Route with Cape Saint Blaize entering the market. Everything from the Garden Route area comes with the spirit of innovation and uniqueness.”
This spirit of innovation is what Bravo strives for in its design, and what ensures it stands against the competition in both local and international awards.
“We love competing locally, but you have to see if your design stands up on the global stage. You have to measure yourself against the best. You know you’ve got a world-class design if you can win multiple awards,” says Schwartz.
And behind good design lies innovation and passion, Schwartz believes. “Great design comes from the amount of heart and energy that goes into it. Most of our work is done for the love of it. We’re looking forward to entering big international awards this year because, with the amount of innovation and passion in our designs, I’m confident we’ll get a great response,” says Schwartz.