Packaging | Lucia Catellani
last updated 12 February 2020
For over ten years, Bright Artist Lucia Catellani has worked as an illustrator and graphic designer creating brand identities and packaging design for clients that include food and drink, restaurants, retail, hotels, apparel and digital. As well as traditional and digital illustration, Lucia also excels at hand lettering and typography, often combing text and image to create a strong brand identity.
We caught up with Lucia to ask her all about her packaging projects, and to find out how she approaches her work.
Tell us a bit about your recent packaging and branding projects.
I’ve been working on a lot recently! I did the logo and packaging design for Pasteto, who produce fresh pasta from the Il Grigio Cooperative. The logo is a tribute to Teto, the historical face of the Cooperative, alongside the people whose everyday love and care helped Pasteto grow.
Grani e Mani (grains and hands) is a new products line from the traditional bakery F.lli Gualtieri. The logo communicates the warmth of a hug, symbolising both the shape of the bread and the act of taking care of the others.
Solocacao is an artisanal brand that creates chocolate bars. I recently designed a chocolate box for them using a typographic design. On the back of each was the phrase ‘Happiness is a bite of chocolate!’ This was one of the smallest-scale designs I have ever worked on.
I also got the chance to participate in the Bright Illustration beer can campaign. Cylindrical cans have such a nice shape to play with. I decided to use lettering and to make it look vibrant and three-dimensional. I love the hype and creativity around beer can design these days – it reminds me of the trends in artistic vinyl designs! I had so much fun!
How does packaging illustration differ from other illustration work? Are there any unique challenges involved?
When you work on a packaging project it means your design has to work on a three dimensional product. The requirements change depending on what you’re designing. For example, if you’re designing a box for sunglasses, you must keep in mind the size of the product, and think about the way the design will be folded or stuck together and where images and text will be distributed across the different sides of the box. Another example would be something like a wine bottle, where you would probably focus on the label only, which has less technical difficulties.
Either way your flat illustration will become three dimensional, so if you design with this in mind and prepare some mock-ups before printing, you have more chance it will work in the end. Also, products are usually designed to be displayed and sold within a product line. This is another aspect to consider in order to give character and consistency to the products.
Where do you find inspiration for your packaging illustrations?
I find inspirations in the stories my clients tell! I am lucky to work with clients who are passionate about their products and have lots of interesting stories to tell! I ask clients questions to understand the meaning behind their products, and I try to translate this visually through the packaging design.
I constantly search for new shapes and visual languages by looking at the current market, I often find inspiration when I visit shops or I surf my favourite designers’ recent projects online. I also love retro typography and old packaging, which is illustrated so simply with perfect shapes and colours. Every product has its own story to tell!
You also do amazing hand lettering – how did you get into this?
I have always had a strong interest in typography; I trained as graphic designer and type is the basic element you start to playing with as a beginner. At first I focused on choosing fonts which would work with my layouts, but after a while I found it more fun to invent new shapes and styles of my own. When I was asked to design a logo or a book cover, I started creating custom lettering. I took hand lettering workshops and started to experiment daily, first with letters, then with more complex phrases. I like combining type with illustrations as it allows me to play with different elements of design and how they interact.
‘Lucia is a pleasure to work with; she is always striving to produce the best work, she communicates so well and she is always on top of her projects. I would always recommend her to my clients – she has only been with us for a short while but is already very in demand. Her illustrations always surprise and delight myself and my clients.’
Helen Biles, Illustration Agent
Why is being part of an agency important to you?
As soon as I joined Bright, I felt a sense of openness! I can now get in touch with companies all over the world, which it has always been something very hard to achieve working from my little studio in North Italy. Apart from their value in getting me new jobs, they also know the market very well, and they push you to explore new directions that you might have not considered.
Why, as an artist, is it important to have a creative community around you?
Working on your own can be very tough. You are constantly focussed on your work and you can feel so much pressure in taking care of every aspect of the job. Taking some time to nurture relationships within local and online communities can help creatives to find a balance and to feel more connected with the rest of the world and also find inspiration from it. I always recommend going to conferences, fairs and exhibitions as much as you can; they are always very nice experiences and you meet lots of people in the creative business. And parties are fun too! I had the chance to go to Bright’s Christmas party in London last year and it was such a pleasure to meet and chat with people I normally only see on Skype!
You can see more of Lucia’s work in her portfolio.