abedecario. An original anthology for the history of 20th-century graphic design

The volume abecedario. La grafica del Novecento by Sergio Polano and Pierpaolo Vetta, published in 2002 for Electa, is considered a “classic” in the history of 20th-century graphic design for at least two reasons. On the one hand, for the credibility of its authors who, with their editorial choices, have defined a methodological model for the treatment of both textual content and images; on the other, for the success that it continues to have among professionals, researchers and students alike:  today we are at the seventh reprint. All this without being a proper survey book on history. Indeed, as Sergio Polano repeatedly stresses in the preface, the book is an anthology of essays, a collection of partially published works.

This contribution considers that the originality of the volume lies in the very act of recollecting these writings; the volume in fact analyses some of the texts previously published in the magazine Casabella, which, from the mid-nineties under the new direction of Francesco Dal Co, became one of the places in which the debate on the historical and critical issues of graphic design took place. Moreover, the paper explores the genesis of the project – precisely in the special integration between texts and iconography; it analises the central role of typography in Polano’s own approach to the theme, as the structural unit of graphic design; finally, it makes a comparison between abecedario and its sequel sussidiario. Grafica e caratteri moderni, placing them in the different historical moments in which they were respectively published.

Questo articolo è disponibile in Italiano

Helen Armstrong, “Digital Design Theory”

Helen Armstrong, a cura di, Digital Design Theory: Readings from the Field, con una introduzione [visiva] di Keetra Dean Dixon, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2016 / ISBN 9781616893088 / Paperback / 152 pp., 33 illustrazioni a colori, 30 illustrazioni b/n / $ 24.95


This article is only available in Italian.

Helen Armstrong, “Digital Design Theory”