What productions do you specialise in?
We could say we actually specialise in customising any product: business cards, writing paper, wedding invitations, book and CD covers, but also precious, limited edition volumes. We also print special customised greeting cards for festivities and significant events.
Ex libris and Ex musicis are a true “Biagini tradition” that we are also continuing: finding an image or a motto embodying the client’s values and passions in a gentle, intense synthesis is extremely gratifying. Then we have the “Scritti per nozze” (Wedding Writings), small traditional books for the bride and groom to commit memories, images and feelings to paper, and share them with their families and guests: these stories, sometimes very personal ones, turn one of life’s most significant events into an even more intimate experience. It is a time-sanctioned, deeply-rooted tradition: Lucca’s State Library is still guarding one of the most relevant collections of such “Scritti per nozze”.
In the end we made an actual qualitative leap when we managed to combine the past of typographic printing with web-based communication; though relying very much on word-of-mouth advertising, our work comes mostly from orders worldwide, especially for Ex Libris and Christmas cards.
What kind of clientele do you cater for?
People who aim at confirming their uniqueness on any occasion, even in seemingly negligible objects. They are mostly people from Lucca, but also from all over Italy and even more so from abroad, which proves Italian style has strengths still to be exploited.
How can you combine an activity like yours with new market requirements and trends?
We care about tradition: we use zinc engraving plates, hand-made inks, precious paper, and movable types. Our printing machines date back to the early 20th century, some even to the late 19th century. And yet we never underestimate the importance of innovation when it comes to the choice of ink colours, or a creative approach to cards, crisp graphics, dry embossing, original paperback covers. But we always work in a team with our clients and never push innovation beyond a client’s request.
Do you think young people could feel drawn to this activity and be interested in pursuing it?
Yes, yes, yes! It has the appeal of tradition, along with the knowledge and wisdom of uncompromising manual labour, and there’s also room for boundless creativity. And, then, each piece of work is only similar to itself: it’s a job for people who don’t like to repeat themselves.
What are the critical issues in this area? And what about its prospects?
The critical issues are always the same for all small craft enterprises: bureaucracy, taxation, no support from the government. We need to do everything on our own, while we would love to focus on development and contents. At this moment, history prospects are good. There is a reaction against globalisation and an increasing desire for objects which are “made just for me”. And that is what we are here for.