Davide Vismara remembers when he first discovered Photoshop. He was so enamoured with the tool, he almost failed his high school Math class. Fortunately, he found the right teachers to guide him through his design career ending up at a desk at Saatchi Milan. He transferred to Los Angeles this year to Team One for the Lexus USA account after working on Lexus in Italy for Saatchi & Saatchi. Davide art directed the LIVE HAPPilly cross-media global positioning campaign for illy caffe.
How did this project fall into your lap?
The client’s project was assigned to my copywriter and I after they choose Saatchi & Saatchi as their agency. We were in charge of creating their new global repositioning campaign.
Did the client give you parameters?
The client didn’t give us a strict design direction in their brief. They needed to add humanity and warmth to their brand. Basically, it all started with the campaign idea we had: Live Happilly.
After we had that, the design direction and the overall new brand identity of illy just had to embody and shape the campaign statement we came up with.
What influenced you visually?
My inspiration came mostly from researching vintage neon sign of bars, cafes and restaurants. I wanted to put some history in it, but at the same time making it contemporary. And by using this particular style, I can suggest “coffee” visually. The Live Happilly logo was also conceived to work as an actual neon sign inside the illy bars, so the logical choice to maintain the design consistent was to make the print version looks like if it was made of neon, too.
Were the deliverables pre-determined?
Not completely. The client actually knew very well what they needed…but most of the time they followed our vision to create something new and unconventional.
How were your typography choices made?
I had to respect and follow illy’s extremely educated taste for art and design. And I also knew that since illy is an international brand, I had to be very careful with all the languages our copy would have been translated to, and had to choose fonts ready for that. The other most important thing I considered was the lighthearted new mood we were giving to the brand.
So I decided to mix two very different styles. A very clean and modern Rotis Sans Serif (slightly modified) for the headlines to set the tone of voice, and a calligraphic “school-like” and “neon-like” font for everything related to express the most irrational part, the joy of good coffee and beautiful things as well as the philosophy behind illy and Live Happilly.
These fonts were used widely in stores and bars, on all sorts of gadgets, and even used in the most important piece of them all: the iconic illy cup. And to celebrate the uniqueness of the brand and to be sure to be as original as possible, I designed and assembled the calligraphic font myself.
Looks great. What was your favorite part of the process?
Designing the font. Seeing their stores and bars completely change face in the process… becoming more accessible and friendly. The color palette choice was also a lot of fun. We basically went through the whole pantone collection before finding all of the seven main colors.
How did you go about choosing them?
I started by creating a palette of colors that would look legit paired with the image of the brand… and from there I just trusted my guts. If it feels right, it's the right color. That doesn't work so smoothly all the time though.
Thanks for sharing with us. To learn more about Davide's work, view his Behance portfolio.