Interview with Salvatore Santaniello
Santaniello Design Studio (Bergamo, Italy) is specialized in identity and packaging design. A young and dynamic team that believes in research and creativity and cares about culture, the environment, beauty and simplicity.
“Products in the average need average packaging for average people. Excellent products deserve research, ideas and innovation. Excellent products deserve more.”
Arconvert: You refer to yourself and your team as researchers before being designers. How is your creative process structured? Which methodical steps do you take that make you researchers?
Salvatore Santaniello: Researcher is a term that generally indicates who carries out scientific and/or technological research. We are not in its strict sense: our approach remembers their modus operandi. We also collect data, carry out surveys and interviews, digging into the past and trying to predict future scenarios in search of an object of a thought, which fully represents, with its uniqueness, the essence of a product on which we are going to work.
Our exploration is not only about concepts but also about techniques: new materials and inks are only a part of what makes a simple packaging an emotional object.
Arconvert: Where do you get design inspirations from? Where do the “fresh concepts” come from?
Salvatore Santaniello: The inspiration could be an old photo, a legend, a building or a book. What turns into an original visual is a point of view away from passing trends. For the label of a herbal liquor we used an old photo of a goat in the mountains. To illustrate a wine label we have taken up the architecture of a theatre. We created a label of a grappa with a collage of pages from an essay dated back to 1789. I think the key to not being repetitive is to look for something authentic.
Arconvert: What do you work with the most, restyling or brand-new labels? How do you approach these two different cases from the preliminary marketing point of view?
Salvatore Santaniello: Restylings are very stimulating because they set guidelines that it is nice to reinterpret. We also work a lot on new products, and often get involved even before they are fully defined. Our clients are realities in which passion weights more than commercial logics, and for this reason we believe it is essential to understand the product to create its packaging and not, on the contrary, to create a packaging with the aim of pleasing the audience established in advance.
Arconvert: What matters to you in terms of self-adhesive materials? How do you choose the right paper to work with?
Salvatore Santaniello: We evaluate the materials under two aspects: technical and artistic.
Today, there is the perfect material for every application (grease-proof, water-proof, everything-proof) so if you collaborate with paper mills and printers, it is not difficult to find the right one. As far as the art direction is concerned, we want the paper to be consistent with the concept and to create a precise context: a bit like a soundtrack in a great movie.
Arconvert: Among the numerous projects you worked on using Arconvert’s papers, is there a particularly successful case history, a label that positively changed the consumers’ perception toward the brand?
Salvatore Santaniello: A recent project, which I think it is a good example, is the new cosmetic line of Orobic Milk Beauty by Agriturismo Ferdy. The old labels were printed on plastic film; certainly resistant, but with the serious flaw of not transmitting the naturalness of these products. In the restyling, we printed on Anconvert Constellation Snow Country, an embossed, pure ECF pulp paper with the Ultra WSTM treatment. This exclusive treatment prevents the formation of wrinkles and increases the adhesion of the label on glass surfaces in damp conditions. This particular texture reminds the surface of an ancient stone, like the ones used to build the characteristic arch that welcome guests at the entrance of the spa. The paper chosen, in this case, has created the coherent context I was talking about (in my previous answer). The first orders, which arrived as soon as the new products went online, confirmed how effective it is to tell a place through its packaging.
Arconvert: Despite the difficulties of a challenging 2020, what are some of your goals for this year?
Salvatore Santaniello: My first aim is to continue to invest on people. Right now, the best resource for a small agency is the creativity and the desire to grow of those who work within it. I’m a bit wary of those strategic investments that sometimes look more like abstruse magic formulas.
Talking about this very difficult period, especially for my hometown Bergamo, a thought goes to Giacomo Bersanetti: a point of reference for myself and the international graphic design industry.
To read more about the Orobic Milk Beauty line of Agriturismo Ferdy read our article –> https://bit.ly/3gamDgF
See also the video interview by Fedrigoni’s for their “Packagin Power” series –> https://youtu.be/dqhJZDvuaQE
Other projects on Arconvert’s self-adhesive materials: