italian masters of iconic fonts and graphics since 1960

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Ennio Comin (Treviso, 1928-2011) was an Italian cartoonist, illustrator, and graphic designer. He began his career with caricatures in the Treviso weekly Il Cagnan in 1949. In the 1950s he made comic stories and illustrations for Il Corriere dello Scolaro and Gli Albi del Vittorioso-Capitan Walter. He oversaw the packaging of products for numerous Venetian companies and lines of images and characters for graphic companies. He was the cartoonist of the Gazzettino di Treviso from 1985 to 2011, creating among others the character of Genty, the parody of the mayor Giancarlo Gentilini, protagonist of strips published in the newspaper. The best works have been collected in the books “Targati Tv” (Misquile publisher, 1992), “Genty di casa nostra” (Castello d'Amore, 1997) and “Anni rugGenty” (Castello d'Amore, 2006).

An aspect of his artistic career little known to the general public was his collaboration that lasted almost 35 years with our company: from his pen more than 500 graphic subjects were born, not only for our classic dry transfer catalog of decorations and architecture but also for the launch of the Very Color line of the 90s, dedicated to DIY artists and creatives.

A 25x35 cm dry transfer from the Very Color Collection.

In 2021, 10 years after Ennio's death, we collaborated with his family, Alessandro and Marisa to organize the celebration of his talent so much loved in our Treviso and beyond.

We therefore made available to our friend and curator of the exhibition Ariel Brandolini (Studio Design - Associati di Mogliano Veneto) a vast selection of dry transfer subjects that were able to testify how multifaceted Ennio's graphic talent was: trees, figures, animals and even a small reinterpretation of the zodiac signs.

The exhibition, hosted in the halls of the beautiful Bailo Museum of Treviso, with the patronage of the City and the Civic Museums, exhibited all the steps in Comin's career, and had great and affectionate feedback from many personalities linked to the Treviso area. and many fans and artists mixed in the rooms to discover this flagship of Italian creativity.

Download the Brochure of the exhibition dedicated to Ennio Comin and discover the history and artistic path of this wonderful Italian artist and cartoonist!

Three days of emotions, events, workshops and experiments: this was the first edition of the Milano Graphic Festival, the new Festival dedicated to Graphic Design, Illustration and Visual Cultures promoted by SIGNS and h +, curated by Francesco Dondina.

We at R41 were present thanks to the wonderful collaboration with IED (European Institute of Design) through the unprecedented "TYPE OUT" workshop, scheduled from 25 to 27 March: an outdoor workshop activity that gave birth to a real and own open-air exhibition of typographic posters, made with our digital fonts, on highly topical issues. Because it is on the street that graphics - the real one - always give their best!

Three days of irony, characters and creativity!

But what exactly was TYPE OUT?

IED students were asked to transform the streets that host the European Institute of Design into open-air exhibitions of typographic posters designed with our recently digitized R41 historical fonts - the Metropol, the Dattilo, the Divulga and all other fonts that have given a strong identity to Italian typography - also thanks to the historic collaboration between R41 with the Nebiolo Foundry of Turin and Aldo Novarese.

Multi-colored posters ready to "change the face" of the neighborhood!

The young IED designers have conceived, produced and printed urban messages on themes such as peace, irony, inclusion and design and then affixed them on the walls of the streets in a patchwork with a deliberately "chaotic" aesthetic, with the aim to communicate how graphic designers can change the look of a place with simple means such as typography and paper even in the digital age.

Hundreds of posters have been posted on the walls around the IED Milan headquarters, ready to intrigue passers-by!

All the posters hanging in the street to transform their identity, were available to anyone who wanted to take one to take it with them, in memory of these days of the Festival spread in the beautiful city of Milan.

An experiment to demonstrate how graphics are increasingly a question of ... "character".

Do you want to discover the graphics created for the Milano Graphic Festival and learn about the history of the IED Designers? Follow us, we will dedicate a post to each of them!

The Designers

Marianna De La Rosa/ Dario Trigiani/ Beatrice Baiardo/ Gaia Argentino/ Josefina Kunz/ Louise Curtil/Teresa Di Somma/ Kristrun Bjorgvindottir/David Campell/ Vittoria Fava/ Juliana Ernst/ Maria Ovcharenko/ Marta Rapastella/Marco Ferrantino/ Efe Tekdemir/ Valentina Cordilani

The Supervisors

Nunzio Mazzaferro/ Elisa Scuderi/ Bob Liuzzo/ Dario Accanti/ Carlotta Cattaneo.

Our company was founded in 1960 and has been a leader in the production and marketing of dry transfer products ever since.

We have gone through more than 60 years of Italian graphic history, always trying to offer our customers the best tools to express their creativity and for this reason over time we have invested heavily in research and modernization of our offer.

In 2020 with the adhesion to the call for support for the purchase of innovation services by SMEs financed by the Veneto Region in the context of development and innovation in the design and experimentation phases. we had the precious opportunity to start the digital conversion of our company, digitizing some of the alphabets designed for us by Aldo Novarese, one of the most acclaimed Italian type designers in the world.

To obtain this technological conversion of characters originally conceived for traditional printing, we have literally searched far and wide our archive in search of every original material that testifies the characteristics of each character: the history, the handmade designs and the original studies on them. We then entrusted to the Stefano Torregrossa's Onice Design Studio for the task of translating the first 5 alphabets of our paper catalog into fonts.

Since these are fonts belonging to our exclusive collection of Italian characters, and registered trademarks of our company, the aim of carrying out this technological transformation was of the utmost importance.

The digitization of the alphabets was very meticulous and lasted almost a year, also emotionally involving our working group, coordinated by Onice Design: the thrill of making alphabets of this importance digitally available for the first time in the international typographical panorama was unforgettable and gave us the strength to continue with enthusiasm the project of converting our graphic heritage into digital.

We are grateful to the Veneto Region for having given us the opportunity, thanks to the financing granted to us, to begin our technological conversion while maintaining the excellent quality standards that have always been our business goal, ensuring that our company confirms itself as one of the graphic containers of most enduring excellence of Italy.

Aldo Novarese was born in Pontestura in Monferrato - Piedmont, in 1920 and attended schools specializing in the art of woodcut, etching, lithography and typography. From 1947 to 1953 he himself became a teacher of graphic aesthetics at the G. B. Paravia school. Having joined the Nebiolo Society's Artistic Studio since 1936, an Italian Foundry founded privately in 1852 and then transformed into a company in 1880, he took over the management in 1952, succeeding A. Butti after a long collaboration. To his intense activity as a character designer we owe the creation of numerous types such as: Egizio, Fontanesi, Juliet, Cigno, Ritmo, Garaldus, Estro, Eurostile, Magister, Recta, Metropol, Forma (character born in team with other important personalities of the time such as F. Grignani, G. Iliprandi, B. Munari, I. Negri, T. Neuburg, M. Oriani, P. Tovaglia) and Dattilo.

A young Aldo Novarese in his studio at the Nebiolo Foundry in Turin, early 1960s.

In addition to being a character designer, he was an advertising artist, painter, writer and editor of important trade magazines. Since 1938 he has won countless competitions and important international awards (Liège Competition in 1949, Linea Grafica Award in 1955 and the gold medal at the 1956 Milan Fair, to name a few).

Naturalistic ink drawing by Aldo Novarese

In 1957 he presented his character classification system to the "Ecole de Lure", in which he proposed the grouping of modern characters according to ten basic styles: this classification would become internationally known as the Italian point of view on character classification.

Table drawn by hand by Aldo Novarese for R41 - Character Classification

He is the author of two very important didactic volumes, both subject of countless reprints: Alfa-Beta "The Study and the Drawing of the Character" of 1964 and "The Alphabetic Sign" of 1971.

Home page of the first edition of "Il Segno Alfabetico" with a dedication to the great friend Renato Bernardi, founder of Reber R41

Between the end of the 60s and the early 70s, Aldo Novarese plays a fundamental role in the new partnership between R41 and the Fonderia Nebiolo, taking care of the new advertising campaigns and advertisements for both societies: in particular he published articles on the new availability of the Fonderia Nebiolo's fonts in dry transfer on the pages of the Graphicus Magazine. He also were involved in the "reception" of the Nebiolo fonts in the R41 dry transfer catalog starting from late 60s.

Advertisement by Aldo Novarese regarding the new partnership between Reber R41 and Fonderia Nebiolo in Turin in the early 1970s.
Packaging edited by Aldo Novarese for Nebiolo characters produced in transferable - In the image the Nebiolo Etrusco font.
In this article written by Aldo Novarese in Graphicus magazine (August 1972) in relation to the Forma font, the availability of the same also as a R41 transferable font is announced as a great novelty.

Having concluded his career in Nebiolo with retirement, Aldo Novarese continued his career as a character designer as a free lance for many years: there are dozens of important collaborations, in Europe (with Haas, Berthold Fototype, Tygra) and in America (Visual Compugraphics , ITC). But it is with Reber r41 that he will continue an uninterrupted partnership, until the year of his death in 1995, taking care of advertising, catalogs, graphics and of course ... fonts.

Advertising billboard - early 70s.
The Transit Collection was a line of dry transfers designed for school. The brand, as well as the packaging, are ideas of Aldo Novarese.
1987 - Hand drawn plates for the Greek Olympia font, commissioned by Reber R41.

Aldo Novarese is now internationally recognized as one of the most original Italian talents ever and his fonts have become synonymous with Italianness all over the world.

The characters of Aldo Novarese as a freelance

1960 Patrizia

1961 Italo

1961 Continental

1961 Exempla

1968 Delta

1969 Spazio

1969 Editorial

1969 Sintex

1970 Ronda

1970 Fenice

1971 Basilar

1972 Primate

1972 Regista

1973 Special

1974 Sprint

1974 Stadio

1975 Poster

1975 Stand

1976 Evidens

1976 Rustik

1976 Visual

1976 Center

1976 Andromeda

1976 Equator

1976 Divulga

1976 Duplex

1979 Iniziali Americane

1977 Mixage

1977 Relief

1977 Sport

1978 Projet

1978 Novarese

1980 Floreal

1981 Expert

1982 Geometry

1983 New -Uncial

1983 Harmony

1983 Symbol

1985 Lutetia

1987 Orbital

1987 Olympia

1987 Arbiter

1988 Alfabeta

1988 Nadienne

1989 Videograph

1989 Nova Gotica

1989 Proclam

-- Studi

Aldo Novarese's characters designed for the Nebiolo Foundry in Turin

1940 Vetulonia

1941 Populonia

1942 Etruria

1943 Express

1947 Iniziali Athenaeum

1951 Nova Augustea

1952 Normandia Stretto

1954 Egizio

1954 Cigno

1954 Fontanesi

1954 Juliet

1955 Ritmo

1956 Garaldus

1957 Garaldus greco e russo

1958 Recta

1959 Bodoni Stretto

1960 Bodoni Greco e Russo

1960 Recta Greco e Russo

1961 Eurostile

1965 Studio per Designer

1966 Forma (nato in team con F. Grignani, G. Iliprandi, B. Munari, I. Negri, T. Neuburg, M. Oriani, P. Tovaglia)

1966 Oscar

1966 Magister

1967 Metropol

1969 Elite

1971 Stop

1974 Dattilo

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