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Rock, paper, scissors: Inside designer Franco Giovanella’s tactile toolkit

“It’s very frustrating when you get halfway through a project and have to decide whether to throw it away and start again, or try to fix it.”

Who are you and what do you make?

My name is Franco Giovanella. I´m a 30 year-old graphic designer based in Jaraguá do Sul, a small town in southern Brazil.

I had been working with graphic design for the last 10 years in advertising agencies and other studios, until one day I started to think that I could do it by myself. The idea started with a friend, and step by step it became more real. And that was the point of this transition: I was tired of working just for the final product. Almost always, the process was hard, long, and painful, and it made me wonder—why not enjoy the process?

Rendi Studio is a place where things are made with lots of research and manual process. I work mainly with graphic design and whenever possible, make palpable the client’s most brilliant ideas (and mine too). According to Elliot Earls, “If you change the process, you change the product”.

What are the most important tools of your trade?

The tool I can’t live without is the scalpel—which isn’t all that surprising for anyone who’s worked with paper. However, people are usually shocked when I tell them the second tool I use most often: a metal dentist’s rod. Leaving her office once, I noticed these rods and saw a huge potential. Now, I use them to make markings and creases, and for fixing small parts. My scratched fingers can tell some stories about working with tight deadlines.

I can’t deny that my workspace is generally a mess, but it’s a very pleasant space that makes me want to work; it inspires me to try out new processes.

Why do you make your work manually, as opposed to digitally?

Nothing against the computer—which incidentally is a great tool—but Rendi is focused on manual details, even though sometimes they are imperfect. The uniqueness is what makes the difference—the imperfectness says to us that we are humans and this can be beautiful. So I work with paper, plasticine, wood, leaves and all sorts of materials that can be manipulated.

Almost every project that comes to my e-mail is a challenge. The vast majority of customers are not used to this kind of stuff, and can´t imagine the process parameters. At first I even got a little confused, since I didn’t have much experience with these new materials. It was like discovering a new world that I need to now take to customers, so that they could understand what it is.

What’s the most challenging piece you’ve ever put together?

So far the most difficult project I’ve had was to create paper animals for a fashion editorial. There were 10 animals, each with an average height of 40cm. The rabbit drove me crazy, with his little feet, and left me awake a whole night—I had to redo it twice.

It’s very frustrating when you get halfway through a project and have to decide whether to throw it away and start again, or try to fix it. I learned that it is easier to start over. Despite the sweat and tears, it is great to see the finished product exactly as you want it.

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