Between Innovation and Education: CRAI Launches a Competition for SPD Students

In the dynamic design landscape, practical learning and hands-on experience in the working environment play an indispensable role.
SPD Scuola Politecnica di Design firmly embraces this educational philosophy and provides students with unique educational opportunities.

An extraordinary example has come to life through the recent collaboration with CRAI, which has resulted in an exciting initiative for students of the Masters in Web and Digital Design and Visual Design.

Students at Crai

Students at Crai

Students at Crai

CRAI is a renowned Italian brand operating in the GDO sector, offering a wide range of food products and consumer goods.

Its philosophy goes beyond mere commercial aspects: warmth, dedicated customer service and attention to local traditional products and the Italian agri-food heritage are the very essence of the brand. CRAI has thus become synonymous with neighbourhood shops, recognised for their small to medium size and, above all, for an approach based on knowledge and trust between the retailer and the customer.

With a solid presence in over 1,500 points of sale, including supermarkets and grocery stores, scattered throughout Italy, from Valle d’Aosta to Puglia, from Calabria to Veneto, the CRAI brand stands out for its extensive territorial coverage, covering a total of over 1,000 municipalities.

This positions it as a qualitative point of reference in the local market. In fact, in the modern distribution sector, it stands out as one of the few historic Italian brands with an active national presence.

CRAI has launched a competition dedicated to the students of the Master’s courses in Web and Digital Design and Visual Design at the Scuola Politecnica di Design. The goal? To redesign the packaging of a selection of CRAI branded products, following the specific concept of La Dolce Vita, a “way of life” characterised by joy, carefree living and glamour, representing the synthesis of one of the brightest periods in recent Italian history. But not just the packaging – the students were also asked to develop prototypes for the new line’s landing pages and individual product pages, not to mention social media, creating avatars for Instagram and Facebook, 9 Instagram posts, 6 Stories for Instagram and mock-ups of individual social media pages.

The challenge was designed to reflect the dynamics of the real world, giving young designers the opportunity to apply their skills and creativity in an authentic professional context.

Within each group, students were assigned to work on specific aspects of the project, with the invaluable support of lecturer and computer design expert Davide Molinari. This approach allowed them to capitalise on their individual skills, promoting interdisciplinary learning and strengthening collaborative skills. Each student contributed in a unique way, providing a variety of perspectives and innovative ideas. This process reflected the real working environment where design professionals work together to achieve a common goal.

This initiative proved to be extremely educational and engaging for the students. The opportunity to work on a real-world project with a prominent brand such as CRAI enabled them to hone their creative skills, learn how to overcome design challenges and improve teamwork.

To underline the importance of this competition, CRAI was present at the presentation of our talented students and, after careful evaluation, decided to award not just one, but two groups, recognising the value of their creative proposal on the one hand, and the in-depth study carried out during the analytical/conceptual phase on the other, by awarding them a cash prize.

The collaboration between SPD Scuola Politecnica di Design and CRAI was a real bridge between the academic and professional worlds, offering students a valuable opportunity to put their skills and knowledge into practice in a real context.

This project demonstrated that design is not just aesthetics, but a strategic process involving analysis, conceptualisation and implementation. The students involved embraced the challenge with enthusiasm, demonstrating their ability to adapt and excel in a challenging work environment.

The experience with CRAI will remain an important chapter in the education of these young designers, who are now ready to make a significant contribution to the world of design.