“The cowl does not make the monk”.
This old proverb reminds us that, very often, appearances do not match up with reality.
On the other hand, there is no doubt that our eyes appreciate beauty and visual harmony.
This is something that Giovanna, one of our loyal customers, knows very well. Taking advantage of the skills she picked up at university and in her work, she has created her own online shop and filled it with a wide range of highly inventive products.
Giovanna very sensibly pays attention to the smallest of details.
During a period where our movements have been severely restricted, having products delivered to the doorstep has become a lifeline.
The web giants capitalised on this, of course, but small and medium-sized businesses and freelancers have also cottoned on quickly, honing their businesses day after day with both determination and passion. And Giovanna knew exactly what she was doing: packaging is vital for attracting attention, but even more importantly it describes the product and gives it the presentation it deserves.
In other words, packaging is no longer just a container; it is a storyteller.
It is an extension of the product itself, introducing and exploring what the product is, and explaining – or perhaps just hinting – at the benefits the product may bring. It has become a vital way of showing affection to those who have purchased a product, allowing them to get more out of their purchase and to experience the item in a more intense, profound way.
Read Giovanna’s words carefully: thanks to her creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and inspiration, the small online shop she is so proud of is flourishing.
Who are you? Tell us about yourself: your dreams, aspirations and talents. A short but faithful portrait!
My name is Giovanna Ballirano, I am 31, and I was born and raised on the island of Ischia, off the Gulf of Naples, although I moved to the Po Valley a few years ago to expand my career prospects. After graduating in architectural design at the University of Naples Federico II and gaining some experience in various competitions and on construction sites, I chose to go down the industrial design route, which gives me the freedom to dream up and design stationery products, a huge passion of mine, which I then sell through my online shop. My little colourful boutique, for which I have sacrificed so much, is my proudest achievement!
Before telling us about your idea, can you explain to our readers what you printed with us?
Well, I believe I’ve printed most of my products with you, and they add up to quite a long list: wall calendars, desk calendars, planners, business cards, brochures, postcards, flyers, advertising banners, displays, labels, canvas prints, staple-bound and wire-o-bound notebooks, notepads, roller banners, takeaway packaging, ring boxes, or logo stickers. Why should I go anywhere else when what I’ve made previously works so well?
Let’s start from the beginning. Where did the idea behind this project come from? Is there a particular story behind it?
I have always thought that a product’s outer packaging says a lot – it should not be seen as an accessory, but an integral part of the product itself. Whenever I start designing a new product, I therefore think about its packaging at the same time. In this project, for example, the little boxes fit with the overarching theme of the annual collection, combining the moon, stars and kindness. The same goes for the packaging I used for the women’s collection in late 2020: it came in various shapes and sizes, and played an integral role in the entire project.
Once you had found the right idea, you had to set a goal. What was your objective?
My aim was to produce packaging that was a perfect fit for the products, which is always one of the most complicated things to achieve, both from a practical and a financial viewpoint. My hope was to create a miniature treasure trove containing not only the product itself, but also all my love and passion for my work, to convey my mood to everyone who buys it. I wanted to create a genuine experience, not merely an object as an end in itself.
How did you turn your project into reality?What were the design phases and how many were there? Tell us about the process that brought your idea to life and made it ready for printing.
First of all, I always produce lots of sketches with pencil and a blank sheet of paper, then create a paper model to see if the idea will work, identify any errors and make any improvements. Once I’m happy with it, I start on the digital design and prepare the print file. I then create proofs, followed by the final print. This last stage always brings with it a mixture of excitement and worry – even though the prints only take a few hours or days to arrive, it always feels like a lifetime – time just stands still!
How did you use print on demand to produce your design? Which materials did you choose and why?
I find it very useful to be able to send my customised file straight for printing after selecting all the various elements I want and choosing the options that best meet my needs. For the packaging project, I chose a classic matt paperboard so my boxes are both lightweight and rigid at the same time. The high-quality printing really stands out, and is perfect for the boxes’ intended use.
Now we get to the printed products! In your case, some lovely personalised boxes. How did it feel to hold them in your hands for the first time?
It’s hard to explain: it’s a wonderful feeling to see something that was previously just in your head as a tangible object. Every product I make always feels like the first time; I hope I never stop getting this excited, because it is what makes my job so exhilarating!
This is only the start! What other projects do you have planned for the future? Can you share them with us?
I’ve got various projects in mind. ‘Smell the Box’ will certainly continue, with themed collections that will evolve over time. I am designing a food diary for the ‘Stationery and Kitchen’ section, to go alongside the recipe book, shopping list and weekly meal planner, which were all printed with Pixartprinting. I’m also designing a 2022 diary for the ‘Pure Stationery’ section. Keep everything crossed for me – it’s the first one I’ve ever made! It’s a major project, but it’s a creation I care a lot about, so hopefully it will see the light of day very soon!