Jordan Jelev and Ispira Nero Mistero – A success story
Jordan Jelev – the Labelmaker is one of the most awarded designers for wine labels from Bulgaria. His passion for the oenological world had been growing for years until becoming his specialty and defining sector.
With more than 15 years of experience in label design, his ongoing collaboration with Arconvert has created incredible results and produced stunning projects.
For this we decided it was time to celebrate Jordan Jelev’s and Arconvert’s Ispira Nero Mistero tie, a dedicated interview to his use of this particular deep black natural paper with a surface finish that is especially soft to the touch.
Arconvert: Artists have a special relationship to inspiration, sometimes they struggle with blocks and sometimes they can rely on inexhaustible source of it. Where do you get design inspirations from?
Jordan Jelev: Well, every new project is a source of inspiration, new way of thinking, new emotions. Therefore, working on different themes is really inspiring by itself.
Another good way to get self-inspired and burn into flames of your own fantasies is to stay focused inside your thoughts. Take your time and meditate on what is about to be done. My mind is full of images, information, emotions, etc. – you just need a little free time to get focused on all these, consider them one by one and connect them into a story. That’s all. The more you know and feel, the better.
Arconvert: If it’s easy to know when the starting point of a project is, how do you know a design is complete?
Jordan Jelev: I usually have a special feeling about this particular moment. It’s something you can’t miss. I can’t find the right words but probably this is the time when the lines of aesthetics, character and meaning of your artwork are crossed and you start considering the best fitting technology to print it.
Arconvert: Creativity has to be bounded by method for someone but for others it’s something uncontrollable and always changing. How is your creative process characterized? What are the major steps?
Jordan Jelev: There are several key points in my workflow that are very important. First, it’s inspiration. It comes from people that I work for, it comes also from the brand, the story behind it. I somehow feel myself as a mirror that reflects these two sources of inspiration. The richer they are the brighter the reflection is. Second very important thing is to know how to position my new work among other competitors on the shelf. This is to understand what you need to do best to shine with your own light.
Third is to absorb all these emotions and definitions and transform them into unique design.
Finally – there’s always a parallel process streaming alongside the other 3 – to have strong well-defined ideas about all materials you want to use for your design – paper, printing techniques, embellishments, sealing, bottle, box etc. All these elements must be well balanced together and work in harmony with your artwork resulting in a compelling one-of-a-kind design.
Arconvert: Coming to more practical aspects of your job, what matters to you in terms of self-adhesive materials?
Jordan Jelev: I always look for several important factors. Paper design is the most important of course. Papers possessing their own character are always adding more value to the final result. I also prefer to work with excellent adhesion papers, those ones that resist perfectly the ice bucket test. I use them both for red, white and sparkling wines to be absolutely sure that everything with my label will be OK. And of course – third important factor is price and logistics / delivery of the material.
Arconvert: Numerous of your projects are printed on Ispira Nero Mistero by ManterTM, one of Arconvert’s most peculiar papers. Why did you choose this natural self-adhesive paper? And what inspired you?
Jordan Jelev: When I first saw Ispira Nero Mistero I was impressed by its nice smooth surface and well-balanced black color. I really love working on black background and I find real inspiration in using double black colors overprinted against black-colored paper or stamping black hot foil and then playing with embossing and debossing. Blacks just like grays and whites could look very different if you know how to treat them.
Arconvert: While using the same self-adhesive paper for these projects – Ispira Nero Mistero – each label design is unique and distinctive. How do you manage to create and design such unique projects?
Jordan Jelev: For me this is all about having a clear idea of what to do and to know how to do it right. Each project is very different and this leads to different unique decisions along the process. Logically the result is different too.
Arconvert: During last year’s interview, you told us: “…I also work with colored papers: this is something even more interesting and it is a real challenge to find the right combination between design, paper, effects and bottle…”. By using Ispira Nero Mistero for these projects, do you think you won the challenge finding the right combination?
Jordan Jelev: Maybe in some aspects I did, but for me this is only the beginning of the challenge. It’s an open creative process that evolves in time. I still feel I have a lot to learn about these colored papers and about Ispira Nero Mistero in particular. There are plenty of new ideas and printing combinations that I want to test and maybe you will see them soon in some of my new projects. My personal success is the fact that I got really familiar with Ispira Nero Mistero and I really love it. This is an open door for progress, for new work – so I can say, stay tuned!
Arconvert: What made you choose a pulp-colored paper like Ispira Nero Mistero over a white paper that has to be printed on the surface?
Jordan Jelev: It was the magic to work on black background. The black paper and almost every pulp-colored paper destroys the foundations of a “paperwhite” world. This is the real challenge here – no white basis, everything you know about photorealistic color reproduction doesn’t count. It’s all black now and I have to leave my comfort zone, change the way I think and use this ‘discomfort’ as my major advantage.
This is why I chose Ispira Nero Mistero.
Arconvert: You already hinted us towards something new, some projects coming. What are your goals for this year?
Jordan Jelev: My main goal is to expand my presence in Italy as I see without any doubt that Italian brand owners are very open to new ideas, new approach in design that will make their products very different, shining with their own beauty on the shelf. I would say the same thing for the US market where the situation is similar – it’s always easier to work with people who embrace every good, non-traditional idea.
So in short I will try to focus on interesting projects that challenge my creativity – this is the formula that produces the best results both for the designer as well as for the brand owner. The Challenge goes on!
Stay tuned for a deep-dive into each of this special labels.