Theme: South African Essence

Wine connoisseur and entrepreneur, David Cope, is passionate about local wine. Or more specifically, lesser-known and interesting local wines made by artisan winemakers. Which is why, in 2013, he opened Publik Wine Bar. “It was a somewhat selfish business decision,” he admits. “There were loads of these obscure wines, but nowhere in Cape Town I could drink them myself, so I thought it would be good to create a place that did just that.” Anyone who’s hung out at Publik will have seen their striking graphic posters, used to promote the wine bar’s carefully curated diary of tastings, food pop-ups and other events. “The posters are an important part of communicating what we're about: that we try to be fresh, youthful and fun,” says Cope. “We want to be the opposite of the old pretentious way of selling wine, that kept it an exclusive drink for so long.” With food being the natural follow-on to wine, Publik serves great small plates of food, charcuterie and local cheeses, and Cope loves to collaborate with guest chefs and bring in new flavours. “Naturally, food helps wine come alive, and we try to have one new monthly event that does exactly this, creating unique experiences for our bar community,” he explains. For each new event, Cope comes up with a concept and design brief for a poster, which he sends on to a freelance designer to bring to life. “Most of the posters have been created by designer and illustrator Chris Moore, who I've worked for with over five years now,” says Cope. “He just gets our brand and we work very easily together.” For Cope, the posters need to tell a story through visuals, while being attention-grabbing on social media, “something that is harder than ever to do these days” he admits. “Chris manages to make them simple, fun and playful, exactly what we’re going for.” Publik’s fresh approach has seen the brand grow substantially, alongside the demand for artisan wines. “Since 2013 we’ve expanded into an online store, to supplying the trade, and to opening a second bar in Rosebank Johannesburg,” says Cope. “We have a strong following of younger, creative people that are eager to learn and engage with wine, and I think they relate to Publik because we communicate less like a wine brand and more like a beer or clothing brand.” It’s especially gratifying for Cope when customers ask if they can purchase Publik’s posters. “This proves they are more than just an advert,” says Cope. “And that is why it's always worth putting effort into design.”

100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.