Design + Illustration

Square, Plumb & Level Wine

Square, Plumb & Level

Services: Branding, Illustration, Graphic Design, Logo Design, Packaging


Square, Plumb & Level (SPL) is about crafting high-quality, vineyard designate wine focused on wine drinkers with experimental and discerning palates. It’s about making the relationship between the wine drinker and grower even closer, and celebrating craft and quality in wines made well.


Client: Crafted Brands: “Boutique Wines, Small Batch Spirits”

Art Director, Designer, Illustrator: Russell Shaw

Copywriters: Bayard Crawley, Aaron Horton, Russell Shaw

Print Vendors: Tapp Label Company

Special thanks to Paul Sturgis, Julie DuRoss, Bill Knuttel


The visual identity involved creating three main assets – a wordmark set in a classy serif typeface with a custom ampersand, an icon illustrating the three tools of the brand name locked up into a triangle, and a tertiary mark in which the wordmark, icon and messaging ("Well-Made Wines") are in a circular emblem. The packaging is set in a deep navy reminiscent of a craftsman's blueprints, driven home by the information about the varietal displayed in legal-style boxes and forms. The label – printed on a textured, linen stock – uses a blind emboss of the tertiary circular emblem, with an extra UV spot coat on top; the icons in the center are embossed, UV spot printed, and also printed in the navy pantone. The bottle's back label has a custom-made map showing the vineyard that the wine is from. The top of the wine's capsule and the cork feature the abbreviation, SPL, which were made out of scans of old, woodblock letterpress forms that were then taken and vectorized for print.


The first vintage, a red blend, was sourced from the Peterson Family Vineyard located in the Bradford Mountain district of Dry Creek Valley in northern Sonoma County.


“The process Russell employs to establish key branding is challenging, insightful, and essential – be ready.  His exercises and investment reached to a granular level to ensure he knew the DNA of our product, setting us up for long term success.  

Expertise in design = Russell Shaw. His work distilled all of the variables we threw at him, version after version, resulting in quality based in influencing. Russell’s design voice activated our brand.”

— Bayard Crawley,
Managing Partner, Crafted Brands



After all cases of the first vintage sold out, Crafted Brands asked me in 2016 to work with them on the next product – an pinot noir from Oregon, sourced from Libra Vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton of Williamette Valley. The product carried the same branding, with slight updates to the size of the labels and creating a new map on the back.


Online Press and Recognition

Abduzeedo Daily Inspiration #2209