We’re very excited to announce that we won the Dieline x Designalytics Design Effectiveness Award for our punch-up of Dark Horse Wines.

The Designalytics Effectiveness Award was created to help elevate the role of package design by spotlighting the immense financial impact that it can have on consumer brands. Winner selection was entirely data-driven, based on sales performance in the marketplace, as well as rigorous quantitative consumer testing.

Designalytics’ evaluation revealed that wine buyers are twice as likely to prefer purchasing Dark Horse’s new packaging to the old — a finding confirmed by retail sales data. During the 6 months following the redesign, the brand grew 15% compared to the same period during the prior year, outpacing category growth.

The chosen design route heavily emphasized the horse iconography, with impressive results. The distance at which consumers could recognize the brand—a measure of mental availability—more than doubled; on average, wine buyers accurately identified the old design from 6.7 feet away and the new design from 15.2 feet away, according to Designalytics’ analysis. Moreover, when consumers familiar with Dark Horse were surveyed about the new design, 90% identified the horse icon as unique to the brand.


Click here to download the full report. 

“At the end of 2020, we conducted research on attributes that drive brand perception, awareness, and other key performance indicators. We found that the new packaging had become our strongest brand asset and was really driving important associations with our brand. Moreover, we had the highest packaging perceptions amongst our competitive set,” said Anna Bell, vice president of marketing at E. & J. Gallo Winery.

“The brand was in a positive place. This project was more about trends and improvements,” said Pierre Delebois, executive creative director at forceMAJEURE. “From an aesthetic perspective, the brand conveyed a lot of darkness and intensity, but that’s not what Dark Horse means—the term refers to an unlikely or unexpected winner. It’s actually a very positive thing, so there was a dichotomy between the name of the brand and the image it was projecting at times,” he explained.