Ainhoa Nicolau y Pep Bernat

Packaging elevated to an artwork

After working in London for eight years, creating packaging for international firms like Alvalle, Beefeater or Xibeca, Pep Bernat and Ainhoa Nicolau returned to Mallorca two years ago to establish their own company, Símil. Now they use their talent to serve companies the world over, creating an individual visual language for each product.

What made you leave London after eight years, and come back to Mallorca?

It was because we wanted to create our own design studio. In London we worked in different companies, and we wanted to work together, in our own country.

The name of your company is Símil…

Yes, we thought up the name when we finished studying Fine Arts. In Spanish “símil” means a similarity between two things which are not identical. And we like to think there is some aspect that differentiates us from one another. A simile is also a creative comparison, for example when you say something like “eyes that glow like the sun” - a very imaginative, graphic way of speaking. Our work also consists of researching what it is that makes a company or a product different, and reinforcing that in a contemporary, modern way.

You have been working together for just two years and yet you have already won several prestigious prizes, like the Pentawards and The Dieline award.

We’re really happy to have won these international awards working on local products such as “palo” liqueur by Túnel, or Antonio Nadal distilleries.

How important is packaging?

Packaging allows you to tell a story and position yourself wherever you want to be. It’s a way of transmitting the flavour of a product onto the visual plane, making a pleasing first impression. With our work we can help make an initial sale, but the continuation of success depends on the quality of the product itself. A brand will work as a result of the combination of different factors, but the label or the packaging is the first thing that attracts you when you aren’t familiar with the product.

Why do you consider yourselves to be artisans at heart?

A product contains a great deal of meaning, it tells you many things. The label we made for Antonio Nadal, for example, is hand-drawn. We embrace the product and try to make everything spring forth from ourselves. Also, in ecological terms, as designers we need to do our bit to help improve things for the planet, which is why we are researching new packaging made from mushrooms that grow in mould, biodegradable and much more ecological.

Do you believe packaging will change in the short term?

The future is uncertain; there is a lot of debate on how to achieve a more sustainable product. The next few years will see many [...]


Read this article in full in IN PALMA 69. And if you like, subscribe to IN PALMA for 1 year and get the next 4 issues of the magazine delivered to your home.

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