The Best Designs of the Year: Southwest

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As we gear up for Print’s 2015 Regional Design Annual—the 35th anniversary of the competition—we’re bringing you the Best of Region winners from 2014. Last year, for the first time, we asked our judges to select their top design from each of the six regions of the RDA (Far West, Midwest, Southwest, South, East and NYC). We’ll be doing so again in 2015. Don’t miss the chance to have your work spotlighted among the best designs in the country, in our most popular issue of the year.

And the winner for the Southwest is …

Title: George Strait Farewell Reserve

Design Firm: Hawkeye Communications, Houston

Creative Team: Terry McCoy (creative director), Justin McCoy (art director/designer/illustrator)

Client: Joseph Braman Winery

When country music icon George Strait announced he would play his final show in June 2014, Joseph Braman—who was pals with Strait on the rodeo circuit back in the day—wanted to give Strait a one-of-a-kind retirement gift. Braman, owner of a Richmond, TX, winery, bottled his most celebrated vintage to present to Strait at his farewell show in Arlington, TX—and then reached out to Hawkeye to create a label that would live up to Strait’s legend.

Because rodeo is at the heart of Strait and Braman’s bond, art director Justin McCoy says it immediately became the guiding concept for the design. For the accompanying typographic treatment, McCoy and his team combed through nearly all of the lyrics from Strait’s 28 albums before stumbling upon the song “Somewhere Down in Texas.” The song recaps what Strait is looking forward to in retirement.

“As soon as I read the lyrics, my jaw hit the floor,” McCoy says. “It was so dead on we thought it was a joke.”

Braman wanted the label to be perfect, so he let the team go wild on production. Several custom dies were created; a silver foil-stamp was applied, overprinted and die-cut; and a small batch of 300 labels was subsequently produced for the rare wine.

“It was definitely one of the most intimidating projects we’ve had come through our studio,” McCoy says. “Not necessarily because the scope was so large or the problem to solve so complex, but that this was going to eventually end up in the hands of one of the bestselling artists of all time. In Texas, George Strait is legendary.”