Simple’s rebrand for Penley winery would look right at home in any 90s kitchen

“From Backstreet Boys and lava lamps to Tamagotchi”, Studio Simple pairs Penley with the most unexpected of cultural sources.

20 October 2022

It’s hard to put your finger on it at first, but the new typography for Penley – which appears across boxes, posters and, of course, the bottles for the Coonawarra-based winery – looks straight out of an old-school recipe book. This is completely purposeful for Simple, a brand agency in Adelaide and Melbourne that draws from a range of vintage publications and magazines on the project. Called in to rebrand Penley, a winery established in 1988, Simple has thankfully been given carte blanche to develop wholly 90s-driven art direction.

To develop the visuals, the agency had to work against a lot of the tropes in wine branding. “The wine industry loves talking about itself: the winemaker, the region, the vineyard, the barrels, the history. Penley wasn’t innocent, though they were ready for a change,” says Simple. This translates to the visuals in the wine aisle too, “where black and gold runs rampant for premium wine brands”. Penley’s new palette is built around splashes of yellows, reds, blues and pinks to create a brand that, in the words of Simple, “lets its hair down”. This idea of fun and subversion is Simple’s approach in a nutshell.


Simple: Penley (Copyright © Simple, 2022)

The project mixes a range of disparate images from the 90s (TV dinners, CDs, Skechers), nodding to Penley’s tagline: “A wine brand that pairs with practically anything." This scrapbook approach sits comfortably in line with the decade Simple finds its inspiration. “[The] 90s was an era that truly connected with me, from Backstreet Boys and lava lamps to Tamagotchi; it had it all,” Pat Parisi, Simple's creative director tells It’s Nice That. “Even though we know 90s culture is making a comeback, we went back to original sources to find our inpso.” From old magazines (like Woman's Day) to ads and thrift shop visits, Pat recalls: “We wanted to connect with our audience on a nostalgic level, so we treated the final art in a way that felt like we had cut it out from an old magazine or favourite poster.”

The type system for Penley extends this approach. For the wordmark, Simple compresses the typography “like a sign writer might do to maximise its size on a small store shop front”. In other areas, the agency exaggerates the nostalgic edge further. “The way the typography snuggles in neatly under the logo goes against our traditional rules of allowing the logo negative space to breathe.” Wider typography throughout the brand harks to traditional print ads, which “always made up the bottom section of a full-page advertisement”, says Pat.

All this translates onto the shelf with packaging that brings the wordmark to the fore on a lighter weight glass bottle. Simple also uses an 100 per cent screen printed label, meaning “that the bottle doesn’t risk heading to landfill after being polished off”, the Simple site concludes.

GallerySimple: Penley (Copyright © Simple, 2022)

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Simple: Penley (Copyright © Simple, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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