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Destination: Italy

I often shop in A&P-banner stores, so I’ve had a first-hand look at its new Via Roma Italian specialty line. There’s cannoli, biscotti, flatbread and a whole slew of other tempting products.

But hearing about the genesis of the packaging design directly from the company that created it gives it new meaning.

Perry Seelert, managing partner of New York-based branding and design firm United dsn, described in a seminar how United and A&P traveled to Tuscany to shoot pictures of real-life older Italians making real-life expressions like smiling, laughing… even one woman sticking her tongue out. The idea was to create images that would remind shoppers of an Italian grandmother, grandfather, aunt or uncle.

“We wanted to have some fun with it,” he said.

The result is a unique design of black and white expressive images that vividly illustrate the Via Roma tagline “Italian Food with Personality.”

Each item in the line features a different image of some of those who attended the photo session in Italy.

“The people become the brand,” he said.

The packaging has helped separate Via Roma from the many other products that clutter store shelves, said Seelert.

“These are the type of investments necessary to change the role of packaging,” Seelert said.