Franco Grignani: Graphic and Typographic Freedom
with Greg D’Onofrio
Mon., Mar. 07 – Mon., Mar. 07, 2016
6:30PM – 8:30PM
location: Rose Auditorium
Graphic designer, architect, artist and photographer Franco Grignani (1908–1999) was a pioneering figure of mid 20th century Italian design. This talk will focus on his expressive and experimental use of type and graphics in advertising design from the late 1940s thru the 1970s. His work for companies such as Dompé Farmaceutici, Pure Virgin Wool, Pirelli, Pubblicità in Italia and the significant Milan printer Alfieri & Lacroix, is a bold and conscious effort to reject Swiss Constructivism, what he referred to as a “typographical straightjacket” in favor of a more artistic, experimental approach to typography, visual forms and the rules of perception. His distinctive graphic language explores speed, technology and modernity using fragmented and distorted type, optical effects, tension, altered geometry and abstract photography – a visual treat featuring a collection of rarely seen work.
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Greg D’Onofrio is designer, teacher and co-founder with partner Patricia Belen at Kind Company, a design office in New York City. He teaches Graphic Design History at the School of Visual Arts and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Emphasizing the work of lesser-known designers or the lesser-known work of well-known designers, Greg has authored essays for subjects including: Pirelli Publicity 1955–67, The American Revolution Bicentennial Symbol, Elaine Lustig Cohen, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Graphic Standards Manual and Lester Beall’s Connecticut General Identity Program. In 2009, he co-founded http://www.thisisdisplay.org, a platform for 2oth century modern graphic design history research. Using Display’s collection, he has co-curated exhibitions for Pratt Institute and Fordham University, most recently: Ladislav Sutnar: Pioneer of Information Design 1941–60. For Greg, understanding graphic design history is a combination of collecting and research. It’s not enough to own the object – it’s also about what the object can teach us.