The Hand behind the Label

We interrupt the Italian affair with a very special, out-of-the-box interview with Jordan Jelev, The Labelmaker. In case you haven’t heard of him yet, Jordan Jelev is, without a doubt, the pride and joy of Bulgarian wine label design, having won numerous design awards anywhere between Sofia and San Francisco. He is becoming increasingly successful internationally and you can learn more about his talent here.

Over the years, he has become something like a friend to us but we would not dare say “friend” out loud because we are talking about a true artist here. You can never tell what is on their mind. That is why we love bugging him to show us his latest creations but usually we get a response related to non-disclosure agreements and other complicated terms. Still, sometimes we manage to find him in a good mood and even make him show us things that HAVE NOT BEEN SEEN before.

And so here is our summer, unique and EXCLUSIVELY VISUAL interview with Jordan Jelev where you can observe his creative process in the office where all THE MAGIC happens.

We begin with a video dedicated to esthetics. Satisfaction is guaranteed!

...and the results prior to the post-production processing look like this in order of their appearance:

...well, of course we could not help but ask him a few more questions:

What is the latest we can look forward to from the Labelmaker in 2013?

The most exciting part for me is that I am back in the beer business again. My part will be relatively small because things in this industry are dictated by the large multinational corporations but I am happy to be involved. I am satisfied with the opportunity to be able to show my skills and create a very nice beer label that makes me really happy.

Is there a change you are noticing in the local wine market this year?

Yes. First of all, we are producing better wines… everyone sees that. The bad news is that it is becoming more and more difficult to sell them, which is also obvious for everyone. Unfortunately, this fact is not a function of neither the quality of the wine, nor the label design or anything else that would be easy to define. The current situation is really complicated and it is difficult to survive in it.

You look very busy. What can successfully distract you from your work?

Nothing! This is not a job. (We look puzzled, so he explains...). I really do get tired and I am very busy but this is not a job because it is a pleasure to be doing it. If it was a job in the 9 to 5 sense, I would have a readily available answer but what I do is so interesting and exciting that it cannot be defined in terms of time and effort. Undoubtedly, it makes me exhausted at times and, apparently it shows (he laughs) but it is like an addiction, a dependency that cannot be overcome.

Shows us something that nobody has seen before, please :)

(Here he gives us an ambiguous look and starts searching for a particular folder around his office. He takes out the following:)

He mumbles something about experimenting with Arabic calligraphy a few years ago, we take our pictures and leave deeply impressed, as expected.

We wanted to tell you a story about a Vanessa Mae concert in the 90’s when very few international music celebrities visited Bulgaria. It took place in Bulgaria’s largest hall at the time, we had the best seats (first row) and the concert was so successful that the encore lasted for about 45 minutes. When the concert ended everyone was ecstatic, we got off our seats and overheard the man sitting next to us tell his friend “Goddamn it! I am going to start taking violin lessons immediately!”

Funny that this is exactly how you feel when you watch Jordan Jelev in action. He makes everything look so easy and natural. Perhaps it is just the power of calligraphy esthetics that manage to communicate with us at an unfathomable, subconscious level. This is how beauty helps us learn more about ourselves and pushes us to look for it more passionately in the world around us, this including the wine shelves in the nearby store.