Self-managed productions have great expressive potential but the world of editorial design is also full of important challenges: here they are, told by the participants of EDIT Napoli 2021

EDIT Naples is a fair dedicated to editorial design: a space, curated by Emilia Petruccelli and Domitilla Dardi, in which to give voice to those who design and manufacture objects independently, not relying on a supporting production reality.

Independent design is gaining ground and the success of EDIT Naples 2021, which has just ended, confirms it. In the recent past, however, the subject of self-production has experienced a period of easy rhetoric. It seemed that the future craftsman was at hand, ready to almost naturally replace a production and a way of designing that in the twentieth century was based on industry and mass production.

This romantic idea has clashed with a more complex reality: today those who deal with self-managed productions know their great expressive potential , but also know how many problems it entails not to have logistic and technical organization of the company.

Read also: three women designers at EDIT Napoli


Becoming a designer and entrepreneur

The first big problem for self-producing designers is acquiring the skills to become a "designer entrepreneur". Therefore, transform yourself from a figure no longer just creator of the project, but who follows all the phases, even the logistical ones, such as prototyping, production, communication, warehouse, distribution, the sale, and that it directly accepts investments, revenues, profits and losses. "Self-production requires you to be ready to do a constant negotiation with yourself. You must always be able to reinterpret constraints, obstacles and everything that can happen up to the sale" explains Letizia Trulli , founder of the studio Formepiane. "In editorial design your studio turns into a brand" say Stefano Bassan and Gianluca Gismondi of the studio Finemateria.

The sale of self-produced design

A delicate issue for editorial design is commercialization. A generic platform like Etsy is not enough to communicate and sell self-produced design: there is a need for channels that give the possibility to tell the projects to a range of people who they look for that kind of message. "To sell at the beginning I threw myself on the web, but you immediately understand that there you are in a huge cauldron with thousands of users. A specific showcase is missing , a dedicated network in which designers are in contact not only with potential customers but also with a group of experts, professionals and buyers ”says the designer Alessia Pinna, who concludes" having specific channels is essential to keep the story of the project".

An autonomous language as a healthy productive limit

Editorial design only makes sense when it manages to free itself from the communication systems of the industry. The construction of an alternative language , autonomous, with respect to mass production is important to look for other expressive codes and to reach a different audience, proudly minority. Letizia Trulli adds "the numbers I make do not allow me to follow the fashions or trends of the industry: creating an autonomous language is an expressive necessity, but also a healthy productive limit".

A fair as a possible answer to the challenges of self-production

EDIT Naples tries to meet these needs first of all through a careful selection of participants: "to the designers they are asked to present resolved products", says Domitilla Dardi. "We obviously evaluate the quality of the projects but if a potential exhibitor has made a prototype that he has not tested he cannot exhibit, because in fact he does not have a product". The goal is to give help and a clear direction to the designers, but also to have a dedicated space for sale.

EDIT Naples was born thanks to Emilia Petruccelli, who posed practical problems: "it's difficult to find authorial design projects in a design week, the few times I find them are almost always prototypes, so I can't order them for my shop", and that is why at EDIT all the products on display are ready for sale.


Cover photo: EDIT Naples 2021, Refettorio. Ph. Serena Eller