Posters are, in general, the poor cousins of graphic design. They are blatantly advertisements, and, pasted to hoardings and such platforms, are not meant to last long. Still, they can be a visual delight and often present powerful and informative imagery, as demonstrated in the new book Posters: Traveling around Italy through Advertising, 1895-1960. (The book is written in both Italian and English—manifesti being the Italian for “posters.”) The late eighteenth- and early-twentieth century posters displayed here are scenic, but a bit busy and text heavy. The arrival of crisp, modernist posters with striking imagery by graphic designers such as Mario Puppo and Nino Scarioni came into vogue in coincidence with Benito Mussolini’s rise to power in 1922. (To give, reluctantly, credit where it is due, Fascists excelled in propaganda in all its manifestations.) “Posters” delivers what it promises: a virtual tour of Italy—from seaside resorts, to hotels and skiing sites, to areas such as Lake Como—as seen in elegant, nifty posters. In a word: bellissimo.
Posters/Manifesti: Traveling around Italy through Advertising, 1895–1960
Edited by ANNA VILLARI and DARIO CIMORELLI
SilvanaEditoriale, 286 pages, $60