A Rare

Who wouldn’t leap at the chance to work on a design for one of the world’s top five wine auctions? We certainly did.


Each year since 1975, the Nederburg Auction has provided an opportunity for local and international wine buyers to bid on a range of fine, rare wines.


The event takes place over two days in September at the Nederburg winery in Paarl, with many of the wines on offer only available in limited quantities and unavailable for purchase on the open market.

Our Challenge

Our challenge since 2013 has been to establish a visual identity for each Auction in line with the year’s chosen theme – no small undertaking when one considers that in 2014, the Auction closed on just over R7 million in total sales. This is how we’ve approached each one.


In 2013, the Nederburg Auction selected authenticity as its theme, with the aim of highlighting its renewed focus on quality, South Africa’s Wine of Origin legislation, and its very own Seal of Approval – the Auction’s reassurance that each of the wines carrying it represents the pinnacle of rare, properly matured, fine South African wines. We immediately set to work creating a cover that would capture the spirit of authenticity: real; genuine; of undisputed origin and therefore worthy of trust. The result was compelling – a row of silhouetted wine bottles with the Auction’s golden seal clear for all to see. While the Auction’s corporate colours had always been purple and gold, we made a decision with this cover to move towards charcoal and gold, adding an element of drama to the dark imagery and highlighting the elegance and prestige of the event itself.



The theme for the Auction’s 40th anniversary captured the very essence of its reason for being. Alchemy is the process of transforming a base metal into gold; something commonplace into something of extraordinary value, often with a touch of magic. What better way to describe the wonder of the wine making process? In line with the theme, and to create a limited edition feel for this landmark issue, we decided on an exclusively gold cover, and created a 40th anniversary icon, which we embossed and printed in gold foil. An illustration within the catalogue showed the wine making process, with the wine appearing in gold ink to showcase the exclusivity of the liquid and the technique employed in crafting it.



In 2015, we were briefed to create a futuristic design for the theme, which spoke to the Auction Inspiring Tomorrow’s Legacy Today. The cover concept, a series of white geometric shapes layered to create varying levels of white, was born out of the idea of looking into the future through a kaleidoscope. To create the layered effect, we spot varnished selected triangles – some in matt and others in gloss. The title word was left incomplete to convey the idea that the art of wine making is a process and a discovery. It was embossed to add to the clean, post-modern look and feel, with the logo being printed in gold foil to add a touch of exclusivity. Then, in a significant departure from previous years, we incorporated futuristic imagery inside the catalogue, to carry the theme from cover to cover.