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Getting creative - we talk to the designer behind our wines Lu Fowles.

By Fowles Wine

Luise Fowles - Designer at Fowles Wine

What are your qualifications?
I have a Bachelor of Arts (Advertising) from RMIT University. On top of this I've also done a number of industry focused short courses to keep up to date with changing technology and design applications.

Why did you get into graphic design?
It's something I have always been into for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid you would catch me reading books, but not for the words - it was the drawings or illustrations I was interested in!  At school graphic design was my favourite subject and I had a really lovely teacher who encouraged me to create exciting compositions and designs that pushed the boundaries.  At that point I was hooked and knew I wanted a career in design.

Where were you working prior to Fowles Wine and what types of projects were you working on?
Graphic design is a really competitive industry but I managed to wedge my way into a small event-based agency called Fudge Group which was part of the global advertising agency J.Walter Thompson (JWT) advertising. I entered as an Office Assistant (to get a foot in the door) before quickly moving up the ranks to become an Account Executive. I then decided to go overseas, a creative sabbatical so to speak, to broaden my vision and draw inspiration from everything around me - something I think is really important for designers to do.

On my travels I also spent a fair bit of time in New York interning at some big agencies, absorbing as much information as I could and keeping an open mind about future opportunities in the Big Apple.

After my stint away, I was offered a role back at Fudge Group this time with a real focus on studio time and work - this department was the engine room for agency graphic design for events and promotions.

When did you begin working as the Brand Creative Director and what attracted you to the opportunity?
My dream job once I left university was to work for an agency in New York. However, in 2005 a new exciting opportunity came up which saw myself and Matt move to the country and take on a winery!

Matt encouraged me to take the design position and give the labels and branding a go. I felt pretty overwhelmed at the time, as I had no experience in wine label design or packaging. There are so many rules and regulations that I had to come up to speed on. However, it was a challenge I was willing to take to help grow our family business. Also, there’s nothing like being your own boss as opposed to working for clients! Your dreams can come true! And when you’re working side-by-side with your husband, on your combined dream, it makes it even more satisfying!

What does your role at Fowles Wine entail?
The role is quite broad and varied. Basically anything that requires some sort of design element has travelled through my little computer. From newsletters, posters,  fliers and tasting notes to labels, shipper boxes, signage and website banners... the list goes on. Let’s just say it keeps me nice and busy, especially as a full-time mum these days!  

You are the creative force behind our brands including Ladies who Shoot their Lunch, tell us how you arrived at the design for this iconic label.
Matt initially had the idea for the wine – calling it Ladies who Shoot their Lunch. He was then at a furniture and antiques auction house and saw an Art Deco statue of a lady going out for the hunt and we bought it! This statue then became the base design of the label and what it is today.  

We both really love the Art Deco era and therefore decided to design the label with this style in mind. I then collected a whole lot of books and images from this period and worked on pulling together rough concepts. The concept evolved and eventually it came to where the label is today. A strong lady in all her finery, walking; gun on her shoulder and off to shoot her own lunch!

You are also in charge of developing our annual limited edition Ladies who Shoot their Lunch print, tell us about this year's design and how you arrived at it.
Along with the 1920-30’s era of art came the establishment of strong visual advertising in the form of posters. So, I thought it would be pretty cool to launch a whole range of posters that support the brand and its premise (Fine Wine for Wild Game). It is a great way to keep excitement about the brand fresh each Vintage – we release a new poster each March at our Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event.

In terms of design… I wanted them to be unique to the brand, featuring our strong lady, with a little bit of attitude. She is featured in different adventures each vintage release so we get to warm to her as a character over time. In this year's print she is hunting for the perfect food match (duck) to our FIRST EVER Pinot Noir released under the Ladies who Shoot their Lunch label.

Given our quest to craft a Pinot Noir within the range has been a labour of love, for me this print is very special and encapsulates this milestone for all time.

Ladies who Shoot their Lunch 2013 flagship poster

What or who inspires you when you're creative self needs a snack?
I find social media such as Pinterest a really fun hunting ground for creative inspiration! But I'm also a fan of print media and find titles like Uppercase, Desktop, IDN, Archive great sources for ideas.

What professional achievement(s) you are most proud of?  
It would have to be the Ladies who Shoot their Lunch and Are you Game? labels and packaging. It's always strange but very satisfying to see your work out in the “real world”, and people enjoying it!  When the Australian Marketing Institute awarded us Best New Product launch I was pretty chuffed and that was before they tried the wine!

Where can we see Fowles Wine design headed in the future?
Very exciting spaces… We are focused on remaining at the forefront of design and maintaining a level of excitement with our customers. Hopefully one day, people will turn to our brand for inspiration!

What's your favourite wine to chill out with after a hard day at the screen?
My favourite “go-to” wine is the Stone Dwellers Cabernet. But I also can’t pass up the Are you Game? Pinot Noir!