Louise Fili: My main passion is food and anything to do with Italy

In an interview with Design Indaba, Louise Fili gives insight into how packaging design needs to inform and seduce at equal levels.

Graphic designer Louise Fili gave a survey of her career at Design Indaba Conference 2013. Starting out as a book-jacket designer to going into restaurants and food packaging, Fili realised the most important thing is always to follow your heart.

With a passion for food and anything to do with Italy, Fili takes typographic and gastronomic inspiration from her motherland: “My story always starts in Italy”, she says.

For Fili it’s no surprise that she went into the food industry after growing up in an Italian-American family, where the main topic every morning centred around what was going to be prepared for dinner that evening. This led her to realise early on that her love for letters and food would one day be combined in a career.

I was always interested in typography. At a young age I was drawing letterforms on walls and in high school taught myself calligraphy, says Fili.

Starting out as a book-jacket designer, Fili was on a mission to prove that in order to capture someone’s attention letterforms didn’t need to be big and bold. Experimenting with a different period of design and type history on a daily basis fuelled Fili’s love for graphic design. “Designing the book jackets enabled me to find my design voice”, says Fili.

Fili started to focus on food when she began her own studio after 11 years of designing book jackets.

Food packaging is so important. It’s the only way you are going to get new customers. The packaging has to inform and seduce, says Fili.

For Fili, the most gratifying thing is to work with small and up-and-coming businesses in order to truly see the benefit design has on the success of a product.

Fili believes that food packaging and book jackets have a lot of similarities. “In a way it’s the same thing, you are dressing something up in order to appeal to people. Yet you have to be authentic to what the product is. You can’t lie”, says Fili.

Graphic design is a wonderful field but you have to integrate it with something you are passionate about, says Fili. 

Watch the Talk with Louise Fili