1. Tell us about your journey into the design world.I grew up in an environment where being artistic was always encouraged. My mother practised calligraphy as an art form while I was growing up, so I had an awareness from a young age.
I started to branch out into calligraphy while I was studying architecture in Canberra. Being involved with my university architecture club, I designed their certificates. I started out with some small jobs designing wedding invitations for my university friends. As designs for events are always so specifically customised for the client, they gain a lot of traction. Photographers, caterers, videographers and the entertainment will always acknowledge customised calligraphy – and the word spread like wildfire!
When I moved to Sydney, I met the right people who needed my skills, and my career was instantly launched. In those early days I worked under non-disclosure agreements, and I couldn’t promote my designs, but now it’s the complete opposite as my clients are constantly seeking fresh social content.
While my background is architectural and design theory, adding the language of graphics and art allows me to position my work in its purest form. I’ve been able to pull from an extensive design-communication skillset when exposed to collaborations with Creative Directors from the start of my career. They had pushed me in directions I had never explored before, which meant finding solutions to the hurdles you encounter along the way – which I find exciting!
Calligraphy by Sam Pauletto
2. Can you share any recurring design challenges to overcome when executing designs?
The first hurdle with any design job is determining exactly what your client wants and thoroughly understanding their brief. Interpretations of words such as ‘sophisticated’ or ‘elegant’ vary hugely between clients – and me. It’s essential that all communication be correctly understood.
The Fairfax & Roberts Home ‘Deco Fan’ collaboration was easier, because you had a very clear design concept. It was simple to choose the correct fan motif for further development as it stood out from the other alternative initial designs. Design development and colour selection were smooth processes, but the challenge here was production. Working with a French artisanal manufacturer who experienced COVID setbacks has added to the timeline. There are always delays with international collaborations and that’s where video conferencing becomes integral to the process.
Calligraphy by Sam Pauletto
3. Can you share any projects or collaborations that fill you with pride?Oh, there’s been so many and they’re all so varied.
I’m quite proud of my hand illustrations used for fabric application and prints with Australian womenswear brand ‘Alèmais’ by Lesleigh Jermanus. My icons and motifs are hand-applied onto borders, collars and pocket edges to pre-engineered garments – and the project is completely ethical from top to bottom.
Another new challenge with Alèmais was designing illustrations for printed fabric as an endless repeat pattern.
It makes me proud to see people using and wearing my work as so much of my designs are ephemeral, placed in a memory box and revisited only once a year.
4. What is the next main design evolution?
Design evolution purely for the sake of evolution is not always successful. It’s the wrong approach to pump a new design out solely for the design to ‘be new’.I’m motivated to evolve my designs when I see my work being replicated. One of my mentors is Saskia Havekes from Grandiflora. Saskia taught me to always hold some designs ideas in reserve to release months later, so by the time your designs have been copied and replicated you already have your next evolution ready to release.
My personal design evolution is influenced by the creative people in my life of whom I’m lucky enough to work with, but my real secret design influences are my twin brother, Nathan, and my partner, Gannon.
5. Can you share a design mantra that shapes your work?
I often replay a saying from Benjamin Avery, a close friend and owner of the COLOURBLIND florist. Ben said, “You’re only as good as your last bouquet”. In my design work I often have last minute requests and if I sense the new job could be executed in a sub-standard way, I will not take on the job. If I commit to anything, it will always be delivered at the peak of my skillset.
Design & Calligraphy by Sam Pauletto
Sam's Top Four Selects
Tresor Fleuri Dessert Plate - Asarum - The natural world is a constant source of fascination and inspiration in my life (In my spare time, I’m nearly always to be found in my garden with a cocktail in hand). The juxtaposition of the sacred asarum in watercolour with a graphic earth-toned background is heaven.
Mipreshus Crystal Shot Glass - These glasses transform a rather quick transactional processes of drinking into a beautiful ritual.
Jean Cocteau Presentation Plate - Jean Cocteau has long been a great source of inspiration. I adore his portrayal of Greek mythology and delicate use of colour.
- Oswald Haerdtl Candy Dish - I have always had a penchant for specifically made serving ware, and this Candy Dish by architect Oswald Haerdtl is the perfect combination of functionality, whimsy, elegance and craftsmanship.