February 2014

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Meet the Man Behind the New HIP TASTES Wine Label: Mitchell Shernoff

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Announcing: the creator of the new HIP TASTES "60-30-8-2" wine label, Mr. Mitchell Shernoff:

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Mitchell (via his firm, Mitchel Design) since the very beginning of my business, when he designed the debut website for courtneycochran.com (which I'm still using - proving the adages that you get what you pay for and good design lasts). I met Mitchell through his sister-in-law, a fellow classmate in the International Sommelier Guild's Diploma program. I was wrapping up business school and I needed a website. Mitchell and his brother designed a site and brand identity that was perfect yet different than anything I could have imagined. They took my name, some colors I like (pink!!) and created what you see now: the process was a total delight.

(pictured here, the label for HIP TASTES Red "60-30-8-2")
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From that foundation, Mitch also created HIPTASTES.com, hiptastesbook.com, hiptastescommunications.com and all of my event illustrations, which can be seen at a special Pinterest board I created for them. Some of the illustrations came to life quickly while others took a bit more time, often because *my* vision was evolving along with the process! I have been pleased with the results Mitchell produced every single time, and proudly displayed illustrations at the door at my tasting events. They elevated an idea (which may have seemed zany at first, like my Rock & Roll tasting) to something that inspired people to attend, garnered media attention and - the best part for me personally - affirmed and expanded upon my initial vision.

Now, with the creation of 60-30-8-2 Mitchell has once again exceeded my expectations. The label - a Mashup of pop art and street food culture - was Michell's first pass at the concept, and the best. He had to show me a couple of alternative looks for me to "get" the genius of the design we wound up with - which is after all is a natural element of the client-artist relationship and process. For those who are curious about the label's genesis, I sent Mitch a copy of Warhol's 9 Marilyns and a picture of an illustrated cartoon hot dog against an exploding background. He rocked it, and the label has been generating oohs an ahhs and fascination wherever it's shown.

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As we worked together, I became better acquainted with Mitchell's talent through a fantastic show of his work in a gallery in Venice Beach. He created a delicious collection of canvases that popped with brightly colored tape renderings (see the example he's holding here). His use of color is truly remarkable, from his illustrations (which appear throughout my projects) to his graphic design, visual art productions and - now - wine labels!

Mitch splits his time between Amsterdam and the US (and lived for a time in Estonia before moving on to Amsterdam) and I am hoping he will return to being a full time domicile in the not too distant future. Together with his wife be has traveled far and wide since I met him, no doubt gleaning inspiration from the rich tapestry of cultures and geography he's seen along the way. He's a student of the world, an incredible artist and a really nice guy. With no further ado, to the questionnaire!

* What inspires you?
Hot, sexy, fresh, deep design. It should be beautiful, functional, and minimal (if I could always have my way). And anything pastel.

* What's your favorite wine memory?
When my wife and I moved to Estonia from California, she surprised me with a birthday picnic in our then new, empty, old-town apartment in Tallinn. Cheese, meats, and fruits were accompanied by an amazing bottle of pink champagne. We kept the cage and cork from that bottle, and have done so with every other special occasion bottle since.

* Do you cook? Would you consider yourself a foodie? (kind of hate that word, but you know what I mean)
I do cook. I'm shy about it - but have turned out some fairly amazing meals - ones that surprise myself. I feel fairly confident on my little Weber and love to slow-cook meats in the oven. My wife and I would both consider ourselves foodies, and when we go out to eat we try everything from street food to Michelin star dinning.

* Best food memory. You can give me two if thus inspired :)

There is no way to pick just one. My whole family enjoys food and we love to eat, drink, and splurge - spending our money on experiences rather than objects and things. I feel incredibly blessed by some of the food I've encountered over the world with amazing people. Living abroad, I can say that coming back to the U.S. and satisfying the craving for a Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl's Jr. is something uniquely special.

* With the label for 60-30-8-2 you got to the heart of the design fairly quickly after I sent over my ideas. Is this typical of your work? What was working on this project like?
Typically, the speed of a project depends on the relationship between myself and my client. In this case, since we have a long working relationship together, I feel comfortable to assume and second guess what it is you want and enjoy. Sometimes the big idea takes time to evolve and I have to wait for an aha moment. This can be frustrating at times, but has become part of my process and I have become used to it. Working on this project was a great change of pace for me, was my first produced wine label, and let me stretch my pop art chops a bit. Out of three concepts, Courtney/you knew "the one" instantly - after a little tweaking the label looked sharp and was polished rather quickly.

* Pinterest. Love it or hate it?
Ahhh ... that is a tough one for me. When I first discovered it, I loved it. I think I might even have turned you onto it? (Editor's note: Yes! Thanks for that.) But after some time I realized that I was not really pinning with my peers. I hate to sound sexist, but in my opinion the site has turned very feminine very quickly, and I feel the male audience is lacking. I've been a ffffound user for a while and use their site and app for filing away images that inspire.

* What is something you'd like to design that you haven't yet?
I'd love to get my hands on a video game or maybe something in the fashion world like pattern making. Also, I've always wanted to be thrown something out of my everyday - like a plane interior or feature, studio movie intro.

* If you could sit down to eat with anyone in the world (history) who would that be? Why?
The Earl of Sandwich. I want to know how he came up with his incredible invention. I'd also like the opportunity to show him how to make the perfect B.L.T.

* If you could sit down to drink with anyone in the world (history) who would that be? Why?
My brothers. Our times together with the drink present are typically memorable ones that I not only cherish but also welcomingly anticipate.

Mitchell Shernoff
Mitchel Design

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