Wine Label Designed and Printed By GCM Students Places Second In 2021 Phoenix Challenge Competition

GCM Students and design

The Phoenix Challenge team designed and produced “The Scholar” wine labels, which included four product variations in its family brand for AppState’s Ivory Tower.

Boone, N.C.— A new family of wines developed by Appalachian State University students and faculty has an award-winning look, with a label that was designed and printed by students from the Graphic Communications Management (GCM) program.

Labels for “The Scholar'' wines, which include a merlot, rose’, sparkling white and vidal blanc produced by Grandfather Vineyards Winery, were awarded second place in the 2021 Phoenix Challenge Foundation, a competition between commercial printing students across the United States.

“Our students spent the year researching, preparing and problem-solving this project for our client, Appalachian’s Fermentation Sciences department,” said Kay Bishop, advisor to the student team and GCM faculty. “The students began by working with the logo, which was designed as a class project by Amanda Gaspard. Amanda, along with four other students, worked together to use the logo on the wine label design and print the award-winning labels. This project shows the ingenuity of our students, faculty and staff from creating the original product to the sales and merchandising of the wine.”

In addition to Gaspard, the other App State students on the award-winning team include: Madelyn Davis (Richmond, VA), Megan Pritcher (Wilson, NC), Oliver Webb (Raleigh, NC) and Jennifer Pantoja-Paredes (Winston-Salem, NC). All the students are GCM majors, except for Gaspard (Asheville, NC) who is a Creative Advertising major with a double minor in Studio Art and Graphic Arts & Imaging Technology (now GCM).

Each year the Phoenix Challenge Foundation hosts a college competition for Flexography students across North America. The GCM team took second place, beating Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University), but edged out by first-place winner, Illinois State University.

Appalachian’s GCM students participated in a year-long process to prepare and problem-solve a client-based project. The project began during fall 2020 when Gaspard designed a logo for “The Scholar” wines in Kay Bishop’s Digital Media Composition I class. Bishop, a Lecturer in the GCM program, served as a team advisor. “The Scholar” represents a line of student-produced wines by Ivory Tower, a research entity within Appalachian State’s Fermentation Sciences department. Practitioner-in-Residence Tom Reeves, team advisor, led the team the following semester to produce and print the wine label. They produced and submitted the final product, along with a booklet documenting the project, and formally presented the project to a panel of industry judges on May 1, 2021. The event was virtual this year due to Covid-19.

Louis Conradie, Wine Specialist at Appalachian’s Department of Fermentation Sciences, served as the client and liaison between the students and Grandfather Vineyards, who bottled and sold “The Scholar” wines. The Phoenix Challenge team conducted research through distributing surveys to wine drinkers at Grandfather Vineyards Winery, as well as online. “Our research showed that general wine consumers valued the design of the label when choosing a wine to purchase, with strong biases towards dark, rich colors and bright, vibrant colors which are both represented in the various label designs,” said Megan Pritcher, team leader.

The Phoenix Challenge competition was tough, with rigorous questions by the judges. The GCM team was pleased to beat Cal Poly’s team, especially since they had also entered a wine label. Pritcher believed that “. . . App State’s placement over Cal Poly boiled down to quality of the printing and design. Cal Poly had great product and design ideas but the judges expressed a few critiques regarding the execution of the printing, which is what gave us an advantage.” The students printed and produced the labels on the flexographic printer at Katherine Harper Hall at Appalachian State.

 Kay Bishop, edited by Amanda Brasier