The Italian Connection

At the beginning of January I received a phone call from the Italian Leonardo Da Vinci Lifelong Learning Programme. They wanted to sendMona Lisa. Image by  faungg's photo me an Italian graphic designer for three months to study Peirene’s branding. Furthermore they offered to pay for the flight, accommodation and living costs. They explained that the graphic designer currently works for an Italian publishing house that would like to revamp their brand identity and covers.

In vain did I tell them that we are a very small company, that we only employ interns for one day a week and that we don’t have an in-house arts department. They insisted on sending me the CV anyway.

Usually our interns are 21 years old and in their last year of undergraduate studies. Giulia Morselli, on the other hand, is a qualified architect, Illustrator and Graphic Designer.

“Oh, how flattering,” Peirene cheered.  “Such a highly qualified person and she wants to study me. Finally my reputation is spreading.”

I was far less enthused: “I’m afraid I will have to turn them down. She will only be disappointed.”

But Peirene was on the case: “Talk to Sacha. Perhaps we can offer Giulia a suitable project. After all she is an illustrator, a skill that none of us possesses. If she wants to learn about our branding – and in return we could make use her talents as an illustrator.”

We explained to Giulia on Skype that if she wanted to learn about our branding she has to be part of the team and participate in the daily, often unglamorous running of Peirene , from data input to distributing flyers on the street. In return we could offer her the opportunity to develop with Sacha a new Peirene project.

Giulia arrived two weeks ago. Since then, she has distributed flyers outside Victoria station, she has spent hours researching Women’s Centres to promote the forthcoming staging of Beside the Sea and she has sold books at the Roaming Store.

Last Friday, I’ve asked her what so far has been her most surprising learning. “The strength of the branding,” she replied. I was astonished “But isn’t that why you came here in the first place?“ “Yes, but I only now understand what behind the brand: the creativity and the drive but also the focus and the discipline.”

From tomorrow Giulia will spend three days a week with Sacha working on our new Peirene project. We are all very excited. Including the Nymph.

“Can’t I just hint at what it is about,” she laments.

“No you can’t. We reveal it in the summer.”

“At least let me announce that we are making use of a different medium, one we haven’t yet used before  – no books, no ebooks but …”

“Peirene, be quiet.”

Image by faungg’s photo.

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