Award-winning design from Spazio Di Paolo and high-end digital production from ICO create spectacular packaging, quickly delivered with cost savings
Mario Di Paolo, founder and creative director of Spazio Di Paolo in Pescara, Italy, had a precise vision of the packaging design for “No Man’s Space,” Brand Breeder’s line of spirits. He just needed the right packaging provider.
Spazio Di Paolo is a creative boutique firm focusing on the food and beverage market. It develops, positions and markets promising products. The company has won more than 130 awards for design and packaging.
Mr. Di Paolo wanted to differentiate the No Man’s Space brand through a complete brand look. Focusing on corrugated, brand-related secondary packaging that “could be admired and preserved for its particularity and beauty,” he was aiming for “packaging that would have a strong appeal to the distributor and the final customer.”
Mr. Di Paolo was already acquainted with ICO (Industria Cartone Ondulato) through their work for some of their other customers. ICO has been producing corrugated packaging solutions since 1952. For both these companies corrugated packaging is ideal since not only is it versatile, it is sustainable and recyclable.
For the No Man’s Space promotion, Spazio Di Paolo wanted to print highly-detailed photographs on both the outside and the inside of the corrugated packaging. Could ICO achieve this at the level of quality that would satisfy a company with award-winning designs, accustomed to very high-end finished products?
When Mr. Di Paolo met with ICO’s Giorgia Lancia, he shared his designs for the packaging and his expectations for the project. Ms. Lancia understood that there was no compromising on the issue of faithful, high-quality reproduction of the design. The printing solution selected had to be technically capable of rendering the subtle gradations the design called for, which, “played with different shades of gray so color balance was critical.” From ICO’s experience with the HP C500 Press, Ms. Lancia knew it could be counted on for color accuracy and high print quality. These capabilities allow, as she put it, “freedom of design.” Because designers can rely on the C500 press to execute precisely what they create, they have no need to constrain their graphics in any way or to design around the machine’s technical limitations.
Spazio Di Paolo also stipulated the use of food-safe, water-based inks on the packaging for No Man’s Space spirits, and this also played a role in choosing the C500 press.
Finally, the exacting design requirements would need to be fulfilled in a print run of just 1,000 boxes in total: three short runs of the different versions, corresponding to each of the three No Man’s Space flavors.
Ms. Lancia immediately realized that these multiple requirements dictated the use of a digital solution, and specifically, the HP C500 press. Any other option would lead to lower quality results and prohibitive costs.
ICO was confident they could meet the many challenges of the job with the C500 press. What convinced Spazio Di Paolo, though, was the prototype they produced which demonstrated the C500’s capabilities. “It perfectly mirrored what I had in mind and seeing it in its actual size was a great satisfaction,” recalls Mr. Di Paolo.
Spazio Di Paolo’s vision for No Man’s Space’s packaging was fully realized in the boxes produced by ICO on the C500 press, with all the required specificity, graphics on both sides of the box, sharp text and precise coloring.
Aesthetically, they were “beautiful and elegant,” according to Mr. Di Paolo. Functionally, the packaging was used not only for transport and product protection, it was displayed in shop windows and customers reused them. Fast time-to-market was also a criterion which ICO successfully met. They delivered the packaging 48 hours after receiving the final graphics; versioning for the three different types of spirits was smooth and successful, all of which facilitated quick time to market. And, as Ms. Lancia pointed out, “without the HP C500 Press, we would not have been able to carry out this project at a reasonable cost.”
Quick time to market was especially important to Di Paolo as No Man’s Space had just won a Tasting Award at the prestigious International Spirits Challenge 2020 and wanted to follow up with immediate market presence.
Also much appreciated by Spazio Di Paolo and Brand Breeder was the ability to print only what was needed with the C500 press. This drastically reduced costs and at the same time, there was no need to deal with issues of inventory, storage and obsolescence.
The No Man’s Space project, using the HP C500 Press, was so successful that Spazio Di Paolo is working with ICO on new Brand Breeder packaging, reproducing photographs taken in the early 1900s on the boxes.
While the HP C500 can take on very large jobs, Giorgia Lancia believes small customers gain special advantages. “Even in small production batches, they get premium packaging, high quality graphics and personalization.” She adds, “And, it enables converters to increase volumes and revenues.”