Label Design: Evolution or Revolution

CLIENT: Small batch artisanal elderberry syrup and elderflower cordial

CHALLENGE: Creating labels that give the products a better shelf presence while presenting the older labels side-by-side with the new labels as new batches roll out.

SOLUTION: Keeping main elements, adding new elements and prioritizing them in final layout.

IMPACT: Increase in sales

You work hard to get your product on the shelves. Each batch has to taste just right, then you have to package it and find retail outlets to distribute your products, not to mention all the other tasks of running a business. What happens when it turns out that you don’t even like your own labels?

Seeking New Label Design

For Katie Reneker, who runs Carmel Berry Co., she realized that this was the case for her Elderflower Cordial--she didn’t like the look of her product when she saw it on the shelves in stores. Coming to terms with not liking your own labels is a big step but the challenge then resides in understanding why.

With the light yellow characteristic of elderflower liquid and the pale parchment color of the original label juxtaposed together, she realized the contrast, or perhaps lack of, needed to be remedied. As we approached the problem we also had to factor in that the color of the cordial can vary from batch to batch.

Evolution Not Redesign

How do you know if you want to wipe the slate clean or make sure you don’t go too far from the origin? This is where it is important to approach design with brand strategy in mind. Your product is representing your company’s values and is what customers will experience of your brand. If your mission is changing and you have a new take on vision and values, then rebranding is the thing to do. However, in the case of Carmel Berry Co., none of these things were changing. In fact, Katie didn’t need to venture far from the look and feel already established.

We set out to only work on the Elderflower Cordial labels, however, with another product in the line, we needed to keep in mind that the finished labels will be placed next to the labels of the other product still with the original label design. Evolving the design makes this a little easier to execute.

Guided Design Process

Thus begins the project for Carmel Berry Co. new label designs. With any new project, we like to set down some ground rules as well as walk through our process. We let you know how many reviews and refinements to expect.

"I liked that I knew ahead of time that we would do three rounds. I was also appreciative that we had more than that as we tweaked all the little things. Another good part was up front you saying, I can only do my job if you do yours. Like get on it, don’t take forever making these decisions, let’s keep on moving forward. I thought that was really smart because it could take an extra week to get back to you."

We reinforce that any project with us is a collaboration. We can only do our job if you do yours. This means a little more communication than you’re probably used to with your regular business tasks. However, we make it really easy! As we guide you through to your new design, we are in constant communication whether it is email, phone, text or even Instagram. Our project together is really all about you and for you.

Getting Results

After a few extra refinements, we came upon not only the solution for the Elderflower Cordial but a design that easily applied for the Elderberry Syrup. We kept the family of products in mind from the get go and reviewed them together with each evaluation.


Sales of Carmel Berry Co.’s Elderflower Cordial have doubled compared to the summertime. Even though Katie has been busy getting more distribution she soundly says that just comparing the sales of the cordial to the Elderberry Syrup, the cordial with the new label design has taken a notch up the scale for quantity sold. We are looking forward to what happens when the Elderberry Syrup’s new label is introduced.