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d e s ig n p r o c e ss

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DESIGN PROCESS


ORIGINAL DIRECTION

PROPOSAL — PROJECT STATEMENT I’ve always been fascinated by Italian culture, food, and design. I am especially interested in how these three subjects intersect and affect one another. In my opinion, Italian food products have achieved a level of trust amongst the general public. Food packages labeled “Made in Italy” or “Product of Italy” are often trusted as high quality. What have Italians done to deserve this trust? How does this affect our view on their culture? From this comes the question — what exactly is Italian culture? This is a question I plan to answer through my research in Degree Project. Italy has such a heightened visual culture that is it hard to ignore their design, and more specifically their packaging design. Italian packaging design tends to break multiple standard rules of successful packaging design. Italian food packages are often chaotic with many colors and typefaces. There is typically an image of the food or a person interacting with the product on the package as well. Most

modern package designers would avoid using so many elements in their designs, but why does it work so well for Italians? Coming from an Italian family that trusts and values Italian culture and food, I am a bit biased. I intend to interview a variety of people to see whether or not they trust Italian products and whether design influencing their purchases. I plan to research Italian culture in order to define what I view as its core. Fortunately, I work in the restaurant business which will provide me with many chefs and people in the industry that I can interview. I hope to compare and contrast American and Italian products to see if the origin of the food and it’s original culture play any role in the success of the product. In the end, I hope to answer the following question: How does Italian food packaging and design translate the values and essence of Italian culture?


ORIGINAL DIRECTION

ORIGINAL RESEARCHABLE QUESTION:

How does Italian food packaging and design translate the values and essence of Italian culture?

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VISUAL RESEARCH

VISUAL RESEARCH I traveled to multiple markets, such as Eataly of New York City, Williams & Sonoma of New York City, Murray’s of Brooklyn Cardullo’s of Cambridge, and Bottega Fiorentina of Brookline. At each location, I took extensive photos of Italian packaging design. 252 photos later, I had a clear understanding of the successes and failures of Italian packaging.

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VISUAL RESEARCH

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VISUAL RESEARCH

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VISUAL RESEARCH

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INSPIR ATION

INSPIRATION I was inspired by Italian Art Deco posters, vintage packages and tins, and Italian food and beverage advertisements. I have also been influenced a great deal by the work of designer Louise Fili, who creates a lot of work focused on Italian design and culture.

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INSPIRATION

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INSPIR ATION

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INSPIRATION

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WHAT IS ITALIAN DESIGN?


RESEARCH

“The Italian love of food clearly extends to the vehicle in which it is contained in. Decorative and ornate typefaces are often used. Graphics are often overly designed — there are frequently multiple typefaces; Flamboyant and ott designs, all the things that a designer might typically try to avoid and yet somehow the effect is a success.” — JESSICA SAMUEL, FOOD PACKAGING THE ITALIAN WAY

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RESEARCH

“My first trip to Italy was a typographic and gastronomic epiphany — quite simply, everything looked, tasted, and sounded better in Italian.” — LOUISE FILI

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RESEARCH

“Is it possible to distinguish one design style from another when it comes to package design in a highly developed market such as Europe? The answer is no doubt, yes. Package design is a sort of folk art,  it can accurately express a country’s culture.” — L ARS G WALLENTIN, PACKAGING SENSE

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WHAT IS ITALIAN CULTURE?


RESEARCH

“Italians often talk about the taste of home. Taste is a motivator to return to local foods — local food tastes better, and satisfies an atavistic craving for foods that represent home, tradition, culture and community. Taste encompasses the whole of Italian Culture.” — PROF COUNIHAN

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AHA MOMENT

WHAT IS ITALIAN CUISINE?

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AHA MOMENT

“What I found, time and time again, is that a dish that was much loved in one town was unheard of a few miles down the road. What I concluded is that there is no such thing as ‘Italian Cuisine.’ Italy is made up of many distinct cuisines, each with its own flavor palette and preferred cooking techniques, which can be roughly grouped within regional boundaries.” — MICOL NEGRIN, RUSTICO: REGIONAL ITALIAN COUNTRY COOKING

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AHA MOMENT

REALIZATION:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SINGLE ITALIAN CUISINE

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NEW DIRECTION

RESEARCHABLE QUESTION:

How can I eradicate the myth of a single ‘Italian Cuisine’ while educating Americans about the regional cuisines of Italy through packaging design?

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NEW DIRECTION

DEGREE PROJECT ABSTRACT An ongoing interest in my Italian heritage and Italian culture as a whole has been the reason for the focus of my degree project. While researching Italian culture, it became abundantly clear that in order to define Italian culture I must first define Italian cuisine. Almost immediately, it occurred to me that there really is no such thing as the ‘Italian cuisine’ known by Americans, which lacks in breadth and diversity. This realization has guided the development of my degree project. The term ‘Italian Cuisine’ has begun to blur the regional distinctions of the Italian peninsula,  a country whose gastronomy is a cornerstone of its culture. The brand I have created, oliva & quercia , strives to educate Americans and remind Italian Americans of the diversity between

these twenty regions. Each region holds a wealth of traditions and flavors based on local resources and customs. Named for the unifying olive and oak branches of the repubblica italiana emblem, oliva & quercia provides the authentic flavor of each region. Pasta is both a unifying and distinguishing dish throughout Italy. Each region prepares their pasta in their own fashion, often a unique story behind the form. le tipicità di pasta regionali , or the typical pasta of each region, along with a distinct regional recipe, introduces Americans to the authentic taste of each Italian region’s character. oliva & quercia emphasizes the intricate complexities of the true Italian cuisines  — the regional cuisines.

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PROBLEM

PROBLEM: CURRENT PASTA BRANDING In American markets, there is a top pasta brand such as Ronzoni or barill a. Within that brand, there are various pasta types that have been adopted by the American consumers as “Italian Cuisine.”

PASTA BRAND PASTA T YPE

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SOLUTION

SOLUTION: REGIONAL PASTA BRANDING My goal was to create a top pasta brand, OLIVA & QUERCIA. Within that brand, there is regional sub-branding. There are twenty regions within Italy—in theory, the OLIVA & QUERCIA brand would contain 20 regional sub-brands. Each regional package contains a pasta type and sauce typical of that region.

PASTA BRAND REGION PASTA T YPE + SAUCE PAIRING 27


T YPOGRAPHY

T YPE STUDIES I experimented with various hand-drawn type treatments for the regional branding. My goal was to find a typographic style that felt elegant, classic, and Italian, yet versatile enough to work for each region.

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T YPOGRAPHY


INTERVIEWS

INTERVIEWS I performed several interviews in order to confirm my research, ask questions I was having difficulty answering, and to ensure that my product and brand would be as authentic as possible. Louise Fili, a notable Italian-American designer, answered my questions via email. She helped me to determine how to go about my design process. Angela Liguori is an Italian native, living in America. Her memories of her home in Italy, as well as the various regions she had lived throughout her life, helped me immensly. We discussed associations, pastas, and dishes extensively. Isa Orvieto, an Italian living and teaching her native language in America, has been my Italian professor and close friend for about two years now. I have contacted her many times throughout this research portion of my degree project to confirm my research and ask advice. With the help of Isa and her husband, Gennaro Orvieto, I was able to finalize my list of regional pastas and pasta pairings.

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INTERVIEWS

LOUISE FILI How do you identify design aesthetics of a

When packaging something as classic as pasta,

country, location, or region?

there seems to be a tension between modern

Visual research first, but instinct counts a lot, too. It could be historically accurate but not work as a design. How do you find authentic design and sources? In a country such as Italy where most “graphic

redesigns and more traditional packaging designs. While I find the modern redesigns to be beautiful, I wonder how Italians respond to this. In a culture that values tradition, I personally feel that Italians would gravitate towards the more classic packaging. What is your opinion on this?

design” is produced in northern cities, how

I think it should be rooted in classicism (for au-

do you recommend going about finding design

thenticity), but could have a modern twist.

aesthetics that are true to various regions? I would go to the library and look through everything you can related to Italy. It sounds like you are off to a good start with the posters and other ephemera. Old cookbooks, engravings, heraldry (which may help you with the logo) Hopefully you will find a helpful librarian. I think this will

There is a current trend towards designing for single portions. An Italian would never purchase or prepare a single serving of pasta — pasta is about bringing people and families together. Do you feel that there is a market for single serving pasta to Italians or true Italian-Americans?

be easier than looking on the internet, though

I don’t really see that. It is antithetical to how

you could try that as well. You can also look at

Italians eat.

Italian ebay—they sometimes have interesting things for reference.

The brand name I choose needs to represent the divided whole of Italy. I’ve thrown around ideas

Could you describe your branding and packaging

such as a tavola, i sapori d’italia / sapori,

design process?

olive & oak, oliva e quercia, il pastaio.

For packaging, I always design the logo simulta-

Does anything come to mind for you?

neously with the package—it can’t be done any

I think Olivo e Quercia is good—note spelling of

other way. And it can’t start until all the reference

each word. (If you are talking about the tree, it

is gathered. Just be careful that the design doesn’t

is Olivo. You could also use Oliva, which probably

get too narrative with the illustrations of the diff-

goes better with Quercia) People will learn to

erent regions. A color palette change with an icon

pronounce it—I’ve designed logos for much more

might be simpler.

difficult names! 31


INTERVIEWS

ANGEL A LIGUORI Where are you from? • born in Roma, lived there until age 18 • parents are from Napoli • studied in Bologna for 6 years What words do you associate with the towns or cities you are from? • roma— art, architecture, lights, warmth, center, south, sun, yellow, orange, terracotta, layers, theatrical • bologna— food, medieval, gray, arches, valley; does not relate to bright colors or sun What pasta dishes would you associate with the following regions?

• She commented that certain pastas must be made fresh; they can be packaged but it is no longer authentic, i.e. tortellini • Although she is from Rome, she didn’t grow up with Roman cuisine. she grew up on her mother’s Campanian cooking • “At the grocery story, what you buy can be very generic. The pasta can be the same brand that you’d find in Italy, but then it’s the way that you cook it that is different. The recipes —  you still use the same box of pasta, but then you cook it differently.” • “Good designers are in Milano... it could be a brand from south of Italy but the designer would still be from Milano, so I don’t know how you can divide the design into regions.

• napoli— penne lische; penne alla putanesca

I don’t think it is even possible  —  the design

• roma— spaghetti, fettucine; pasta with

is not regional. The main designers will not

artichokes, penne all’arrabbiata, spaghetti

be in a little town in Sicily. There is not really

alla amatriciana

a package, it is made in a shop and is what

• toscana— strozzapretti

they have made themselves. It is almost

• emilia-romagna— tagliatelle

homemade, it has been the same design since the beginning of the century.”

Notes & Quotes • Angela didn’t seem to realize certain pasta types belonged to certain regions until I mentioned it. For example, when I mentioned that penne was typical in Campania, she commented that her mother actually did make a lot of penne dishes.

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INTERVIEWS

ISA & GENNARO ORVIETO Where are you from? • isa—born in Roma • isa & gennaro— lived and raised their family in Milano Brand Name Suggestions • il pastaio— pasta maker • oliva e quercia— olive & oak • cento pasta Results of Interview • Determined a pasta for each region—  chose to go with lesser known pasta types • Received several suggestions for sauce pairings and dishes for each region • Learned of more sources for research—  Eataly.com, it.wikipedia, old cookbooks owned by interviewees

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

REGIONAL VISUAL RESEARCH The next task was to determine a way of differentiating between each region in my packaging. I chose my five regions and began extensive visual research on each. Interviews with Italian Americans which provided me with word-associations for each region. I searched both online and at the International Poster Gallery of Boston for inspirational travel posters, hotel tags, luggage tags, and other forms of regional ephemera. I drew my color palette from these vintage travel posters that I had found, paired with the color associations of my Italian-American interviewees. Once I had a clear understanding of the unique characteristics of each region, I was able to move on to my packaging.

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

LIGURIA • capital —  Genova • pasta —  Trofie • recipe —  Trofie con Pesto Genovese

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

liguria C86 M54 Y61 K45 R29 G69 B68

scenery illus t r at i o n : da n i el l e m e d i co

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hand - drawn t ypography : jenna carando

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

EMILIA-ROMAGNA • capital —  Bologna • pasta —  Tagliatelle • recipe —  Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

emilia-romagna C31 M98 Y96 K41 R199 G23 B22

scenery illus t r at i o n : da n i el l e m e d i co

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hand - drawn t ypography : jenna carando

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

TOSCANA • capital —  Firenze • pasta —  Pici • recipe —  Pici All’Aglione

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

TOSCANA C30 M74 Y100 K26 R144 G75 B33

scenery illus t r at i o n : da n i el l e m e d i co

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hand - drawn t ypography : jenna carando

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

CAMPANIA • capital —  Napoli • pasta —  Fusilli • recipe —  Fusilli con Crema di Zucchine

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

CAMPANIA C78 M33 Y61 K13 R57 G124 B108

scenery illus t r at i o n : da n i el l e m e d i co

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hand - drawn t ypography : jenna carando

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

L AZIO • capital —  Roma • pasta —  Bucatini • recipe —Bucatini All’Amatriciana

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REGIONAL RESEARCH

LAZIO C19 M57 Y100 K4 R199 G123 B42

scenery illus t r at i o n : da n i el l e m e d i co

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hand - drawn t ypography : jenna carando

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PACKAGING

PACKAGING When it came to packaging, I knew I wanted to keep it simple, elegant, and authentic. Each package would focus on the pasta type, which would be encased in an appropriately sized cellophane bag. Around the bag of pasta would be a belly band. On this belly band I knew I wanted to show the top brand logo, the regional logo, an illustration of the region’s scenery of distinct landmarks, and a story about the brand. Each package would also feature a story behind the pasta, and the standard nutritional information. A recipe card would be added to each package to highlight a typical regional recipe.

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PACKAGING


PACKAGING ITERATIONS

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PACKAGING ITERATIONS

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FINAL PACKAGING

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FINAL PACKAGING

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Oliva & Quercia Design Process