We are glad to host an interview with Regina Miecchi – graduate IED Roma 2003 Three-year course Graphic Design.
Q.: you claim to be an “independent creative director & multidisciplinary designer”. Could you define this position?
A.: this role describes my professional history from a technical point of view, encompassing past and future. With twenty years of working experience, I can finally call myself an independent and multidisciplinary designer.
“ I was a Creative Director for eight years in Sanrio, the company owning Hello Kitty (& Friends) brand. During that time, I was able to express myself as a graphic designer, illustrator and fashion - product and textile – designer. “
Q.: working at Sanrio, during the years 2009-2017, which was the distinctive trait of this collaboration and which features did you most develop, compared to your study path in IED?
A.: the biggest impact has surely been the possibility to create the first Design department for the Europe-Middle East-South Africa area (EMEA), which included selection and training of designers. Together we created style-guides to be used for multi-product categories, marketing events and worldwide co-branding. Two major examples of our transversal work are the famous Hello Kitty for Diesel and Hello Kitty for Kiss. In the latter, Hello Kitty was designed with Gene Simmons’ mouth and tongue for the first time. A fundamental step to understand the importance of design details was the revision, quality control and product approval for the biggest clients. In Sanrio, I was also a trainer in house-designer, which gave me the chance to travel the world, from USA to Australia, India and Japan. Licensing Design is a specialisation that I had the incredible opportunity of learning from direct experience, as in 2003 it was still a very small niche. It allows the designer to combine different kinds of expertise, making it a highly professional experience.
Q.: does the lovely company claim “Small Gift, Big Smile®”, represent you and your creativity in everyday life?
A.: I believe that Small Gift, Big Smile® is not just a claim but also a positive and proactive message. Looking beyond the literal meaning, you can see a powerful metaphor describing an act of kindness. It encloses the meaning of oriental philosophy that we could all use in our daily life. This message has been part of my everyday creativity and it continues to be so, even after the ending of my working relationship with Sanrio.
Q.: do you think that future creativity will be defined more by technological innovation or characterized by an increasing emotional emphasis?
A.: thank you for asking me this question. We live in very delicate and dark times. As designers, it is our duty to expose ourselves and speak up. I firmly believe that all sectors, may they be creative or not, need to diversify their content, making it more inclusive, ethical and sustainable. Today, the added value should be “why and how” one does it. Being good and solving clients’ problems is not enough anymore. Designers have to go back to asking themselves questions and looking for the right answers, if they really want to improve the life of the final users and of others in general, leaving a mark. Mine is VISIONARIA – Design the Change. It is a creative studio/lab, an experimental project, which I launched with my sister Chantal, based on the American benefit corporations model. It is a sustainable business that combines profit and non-profit work in a systematic manner.
Q.: today, what does it mean for you “THE CHANGE”? Which are the fundamental values that you put in your job?
A.: change is my strength.
During one of my travels to Africa in 2012, I understood the importance of my work, thanks to my incredible experience at the Salam Centre, one of Emergency’s (an Italian non-profit organization) cardiac surgery centre in Khartoum, Sudan. The hospital’s patients include many children, with whom I had the luck to draw pictures, before and after they underwent cardiac surgery. Art therapy made me realise that I could actively contribute as a designer to a world which I thought was so far away from me. It seemed a natural step to create, together with friends in 2014, Janghi Onlus – Une Autre Chance: a social project dedicated to helping street children in Dakar, Senegal, to get back to school. In 2017, VISIONARIA – Design The Change was born.
Today I finally embody ‘my best project’. After many necessary changes, I have managed to combine both passions: design and humanitarian projects. We work “behind the project”: our work does not end with the needs of the client, but thanks to our collaborations with them, we can allocate part of our revenue to cultural and social projects, therefore promoting a Culture of Peace.
Q.: we were impressed by your freelance collaboration you had some years ago with the Vatican's Secret Archives. A not so common interesting opportunity. Would you like to share with us some tips?
A.: who would have thought! Many years ago, and quite unexpectedly, I was commissioned a job by the Vatican’s Secret Archive. It may sound like something coming out of a Dan Brown or Glenn Cooper novel. In fact, I worked in a rather austere, predominantly male, albeit fascinating, environment. I was part of an editorial graphics project, which digitized ancient and very precious books.
Q.: once you left IED, did you have the chance to meet through the years former classmates? What did you share with them along the way?
A.: yes, I have many good friends amongst my former classmates and in some cases, we also work together in big international agencies.
“ After all these years, we have formed strong friendships that go beyond national borders. “
Q.: what do you wish for the future?
A.: I hope that the Design The Change manifesto may be embraced by the creative community, thus becoming a proper movement. A voice in which everyone can recognize himself, in order to create, all together, a positive impact in the world.
“If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger – something that matters.” — Blake Mycoskie