“The Italian Job”
Launched this year, Ottavo is a new line of affordable, designer reading glasses “inspired by the timeless aesthetic of Italian design”. Available in three styles — Ovale, a round shape, Quadro, a square shape, and Medio, a subtle cat eye — the glasses were designed and fabricated by Eponym in partnership with New York, NY-based Mucca who also designed the product’s identity.
The spirit of Italian modernism defined everything from the name to the packaging and details of the product design. The brand’s modernist ideals are expressed through a minimal color palette, plenty of negative space and clean sans serif typography, lightened by an irreverent tone of voice.
If the Olivetti logo and Hoefler & Co.’s Forza had a baby it would be this logo, which, in my mind, is a wonderful marriage of genes. The logo has a beautiful, strong presence with enough peculiarities — especially the “a” and curved “v” — to make the wordmark feel custom and unique. The name probably has more influence than the design but there is, indeed, something Italian-ish about this, like something you would see cast in metal on the side of an espresso machine or scooter.
The glasses look cool enough but it’s certainly a limited offering — especially compared to industry powerhouse Warby Parker — so the Italian look might not be for everyone. The glasses feature generously-sized versions of the logo on the frame and on the lenses and come in a lovely felt pouch. The tag introduces a double-“O” monogram with an overlay effect that looks cool but I wonder if it’s the wrong message for reading glasses since it’s the effect you get from the world when you cross your eyes.
We designed the packaging with luxurious materials and the credo that form follows function: a belly band allows a single box to be used for many combinations of lens powers, shapes, and colors; and the tag on the glasses sleeve doubles as a pull to upon the box.
The packaging is quite nice; nothing the original iPhone packaging hasn’t already shown us, but it’s still a pretty nice presentation and I like how the paper bands match the color of the glasses inside. The packaging introduces a complementary sans serif that I’m not convinced is the best match for the logo… It’s like it wants to be Helvetica but then I would probably hate on it for being Helvetica. Can’t win.
Overall, the brand is nicely presented and with a very defined point of view about what it wants to say and how it wants to say it. There is room for improvement, particularly in the typography around the logo and especially in the website that is one step out of synch with the classiness of the logo (not to mention it uses some other, uglier Sans Serif) and overall aesthetic.