POSTED BY: Mary Helow

Great wine or great design?

16th Apr, 2018

Great wine or great design?

I got my tattoo on Haight Street in San Francisco in 1996, at the very wise age of 25. I wasn’t trying to be rebellious or exert my independence. I was deeply drawn to the design: it’s a bit dark and edgy yet the way the claws, wing tails and beaks tuck together feels safe. And the circular device seems eternal – almost like a mantra of ‘life goes on.’

For those who’ve lived in Northern California (and frequent the wine country), you may recognise this logo design from a winery based in Sonoma Country – Ravenswood. I cannot tell a lie – I was a fan of their Zinfindel and I may have met a bottle or two I couldn’t resist.

But what it sparked was genuine interest – enough to go looking for the creator. Little did I know he was in my own backyard. David Lucas Goines was an active character on the free speech scene of 60’s Berkeley, California. Expelled from University of California Berkeley for his political commitment, he began as an apprentice to a local printer. And the rest is Bay Area history. An accomplished artist and calligrapher known for his artisan’s approach to design (as well as his handle bar moustache), he’s involved in all phases of production from making ink colours to final printing.

He’s perhaps best known for his poster designs. A childhood friendship with Alice Waters led to regular pieces – posters and cookbooks – for her well-known Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse. His approach to design is clear:

“Fundamentally, I believe that in order to be effective as opposed to artsy and not really effective at all, a poster has to be extremely simple. If you look at some of the publications like Graphis or Print magazine, a lot of their posters are not really posters. They’re complicated. You can’t immediately figure out what they’re about or who they’re appealing to.”

For decades Goines created posters in support of local causes and businesses. As a resident of San Francisco and Berkeley for 12 years before leaving for Dublin, the local addresses and subject matter have particular meaning to me.

When people ask the question: ‘how’d you pick that tattoo design?’ The easy answer is a wine bottle but the real answer is David Goines.


Mary Helow, Senior Account Director
Mary has helped shape American and Irish brands for more than 25 years. Beginning with marketing for Levi Strauss & Co in the mid-90s she developed a deep desire to help brands succeed. She worked with LeapFrog, Apple and Norwegian Cruise Lines before trading the Golden Gate Bridge for the cobblestone streets of Dublin in 2005. Since then she’s worked with Irish Brands such as Adare Manor, Deep RiverRock, Digicel, Mt. Juliet and DAA to name a few. Her focus is on understanding the people behind a brand, getting to the heart of the challenges they face and developing approaches that are unique, personal and effective.