ais/design. storia e ricerche – n.12

Photography and Design. The industrial product and its image
edited by Paola Proverbio and Raimonda Riccini

Since the widespread development of advertisement and specialized press (beginning in the 1930s), professionals such as the graphic designer and the art director have contributed to create new attention on the image of products and objects, as shown by the increasing specialization of design photographers.

Photography has become a fundamental element in the construction of corporate identity, as well as a factor of the entire design, production, and communication process.

Studying design photography, then, means analyzing the relationship between the intrinsic design value of the object and that of its photographic image against the background of shared imagery. At the same time, the photograph is itself a complex artefact, the product of a specific craft; as a result, the object and its photograph are two distinct projects sharing a common space (establishing a compromise or even a form of complicity) on the page.

Different forms of communication generate different kinds of relationship between object and image, creating an articulated field that has not been explored in its entirety; the present issue of AIS/Design. Storia e Ricerche, then, will include a wide range of studies on this subject, both exploring possible direction for research and analyzing specific cases and authors. Therefore, we encourage original contributions covering these areas:

  1.  Individual photographers or ateliers that worked in the fields of design and/or advertisement.
  2. “Elective Affinities”. As in architecture, special connections between designers and photographers have developed through history (in Italy, eg: Sapper, Sambonet e Libis, Sottsass e Caleca, ecc.).
  3. Graphics. The history of design photography has been linked to graphics, with photographers working together with art directors and graphic designers in the context of corporate communication or magazines.
  4. Advertisement. Design photography is placed in a gray area between communication and advertisement.
  5. Corporate catalogues, advertisement campaigns, magazines and house organs. Different approaches to communication that generate different photographic styles.
  6. Exhibitions and shop windows. Photography has had a crucial role as both a document and a narrative tool in exhibitions. At the same time, exhibition layouts, showrooms and shop windows have always constituted a sort of involuntary photographic set, as noted by Walker Evans.
  7. 7) Historiography on design. Photography has been considered in different ways by scholars, beginning with the important cases of Giedion and Lewis Mumford – as well as Le Corbusier and Gropius.
  8. Photographic archives. In recent years, the archives of photographers have been opened and studied. What problems have emerged? And what new stories can be told?


All submissions (both by invitation and in response to the call) are subject to blind peer-review.
Deadlines are as follows:

  • July 162018: abstract submission; the abstract (max. 300 words) should specify the proposed review of a monograph or special issue of a journal that the author/s intend to submit for review and the reasons for the choice (max. 300 words); it will include the title, 5 keywords and a short biography (max. 150 words).The abstract may be in English (or English and Italian)
  • July 202018:the authors will be notified of the editors’ interest in the proposal;
  • September 27, 2018: full paper submission, adhering to the journal’s editorial standards and including the abstract, keywords, author biography, images, and captions (see below “Types of contributions and preparation of the materials);
  • By October 26, 2018: authors will be notifiedof the peer-review’s outcome (changes or additional work may be needed in view of publication);
  • November 19, 2018final paper

All submissions should be sent to: and cc:

For information and questions contact the editors at:


All proposed contributions must be original texts. Papers that are beyond the scope of the journal, that have previously been submitted to other journals or have already been featured (in any language), or that replicate texts published elsewhere, will be rejected without peer review.

Full papers will be accompanied by a short abstract (max. 150 words), a list of 5 keywords, and by a short biographical note (max. 150 words).

Style and preparation guidelines are available from:

To complement their contribution, authors can submit up to 10 images (copyright-free images or images for which authors have obtained the right/permission of publication), accompanied by full captions (including credits).


Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in Call for papers, Open

Chiara Lecce

Chiara Lecce received her MA in Interior Design (2008) and her PhD in Interior Architecture & Exhibition Design (2013; with the thesis: “Living Interiors in the Digital Age: the Smart Home”) from the Politecnico di Milano. Since 2008 she has been engaged in teaching activities, in History of Design classes and Interior Design studio, at the Design School of the Politecnico di Milano, collaborating with professors Giampiero Bosoni and Ico Migliore. Since 2013 she has been managing editor of the scientific journal PAD (Pages on Arts and Design) and member of AIS/Design (Italian Association of Design Historians). She is the author of several articles featured in various design journals. She is currently research fellow and lecturer at the Design Department of the Politecnico di Milano, with a focus on exhibition design history and methodologies. In 2016 she was a tutor within the H2020 European project “Design for Enterprises”. Since 2009 she has been collaborating with the Franco Albini Foundation and with other Italian design archives, while continuing to work as a freelance interior designer.

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