‘Nju is a young business that will be celebrating its sixth anniversary in April 2015,’ says Mario Cavallaro, founder and creative director of Nju – also a great appreciator of fine food and wines.
Nju [pronounced “new”] is based in Eboli, famous for Carlo Levi’s novel Christ Stopped at Eboli (also a movie), and an hour’s drive from Naples. Most of Nju’s clients are local people who are in agricultural or food processing businesses.
Cavallaro says: ‘We have a direct relationship with them. They are family businesses and usually they have no experience in communication.
‘At Nju we believe that every project should have a recognisable profile that can enhance the identity of our clients’ businesses and / or their products. In our small way we go in for experimentation. We emphasise the involvement that goes into our work and its craft aspects and we are keenly aware that our clients share these values with us. We also play something of an educational role by highlighting local history, traditions and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. For these reasons we always propose using original photography and other services rather than acquiring ready-made material.
‘Thanks to the internet, word-of-mouth from our clients and trade fairs – where our graphic ideas get noticed – we have started to get interest from businesses outside our region.’
The new series of labels for Maida preserves demonstrates the confidence of Nju’s design. Maida, a high-ranking brand in the preserves industry of the Campania Region, is popular with restaurants. Maida’s products are also sold at the Peck delicatessen in Milan and in Harrods in London.
Nju’s first project for Maida won a Fedrigoni Top Applications Award in 2009. This year Nju is a contender once more, with new packaging in the form of a ‘minimalist’ label for preserves of items such as cherry tomatoes and artichoke hearts – all clearly visible in their jars. The lids show black and white photographs of stone tiles from the period buildings of Capaccio Paestum, where Maida has its head offices. To open the jars you have to remove the die-cut sleeves, which, like the labels, are printed on Chromocard, which is distributed in Italy by Fedrigoni.
Other successes include their corporate identity for De Martino, which makes terracotta bricks and is located in Rufoli, near Salerno – an area famous for its clay deposits and its kilns. De Martino continues a craft tradition that goes back more than 500 years and its clientele includes the architect David Chipperfield and Dolce & Gabbana.
‘We spent a lot of time on the work for De Martino,’ says Cavallaro, ‘but it was a very satisfying experience for us because we started from scratch – an ideal starting point for developing coherent visual communication, beginning with the trade mark.’ This is made up of the four basic elements that are required for the products: air, water, earth and fire. For the company’s business cards and stationery Cavallaro and his colleagues chose Fedrigoni Materica – perfect for a tactile rendering of the historical, craft-oriented aspects of this company.