Whether or not you know it, you’ve probably seen the work of Italian graphic designer Louise Fili: on packaging for Williams-Sonoma and Sarabeth’s jams, in a mark for Tiffany & Co., and on thousands of book covers. This prolific designer often takes inspiration from the same place: pasticceria packaging, the elaborately patterned waxed papers once used to wrap pastries in Italy.
In an elegant new series of notecards, called “Quattro Parole Italiane (Four Italian Words),” Fili pays homage to the anonymous designers of these pasticceria papers. Using their same fanciful patterns of zigzags and leaves, she’s illustrated four Italian words–ciao (hello), auguri (greetings), grazie (thank you), and prego (with pleasure). These simple words pack a visual punch in Fili’s jazzy typography and bright colors.
“Once, when I was in Milan researching a book on Italian art deco, I found myself one stifling afternoon in a magazzino–a warehouse–filled with printers’ proofs of labels and other ephemera from the 1920s,” Fili writes. It was there that she found a series of pasticceria papers, all created by hand. “They were the most unusual and beautiful graphic work I’d seen in a long time. I brought them back to New York, where they ended up having a great influence on my design voice,” she writes. “Quattro Parole Italiane is a love letter to the anonymous designers who provided me with such unforgettable inspiration.”