Dear Shaded Viewers,
last night I attended the presentation of a graphic design book about the work of a man who is part of our history. Albe Steiner was an italian jew, nephew of an anti-fascist hero ouf our country, Giacomo Matteotti, killed by Mussolini way before WWII. Albe was only 7 y.o. and drew his first poster: the face of the dictator and just one word: "Assassino", which means "Killer". The following fifty years he became the most famous graphic designer in Italy, working for magazines, fashion, shops, big companies, and did a lot of beautiful things all over the world. Here in my drawing, him and his wife Lica, the way they were 45 years ago.
He died long time ago and now his widow and one of their daughters did a gorgeous book about him. I went to Triennale bookshop here in Milan to see the presentation and the hall was crowded more than I could imagine.
Here some examples of his work:
Lica, the wife, who now is 90 years old or something, did the most touching speech I’ve ever heard during a graphic/design conference. She talked about their work together (both self-thougt, in design and photography); she mentioned the war, the post-war years (when they had big success and shaped most of italian and swiss advertisement art), the fashion years.
Talking about fashion she showed some posters and shop layouts they did together, juxtaposing them to the same brands’ visual communication of nowadays, complaining about the contemporary (like many elders do, I have to admit). Complaining but explaining why: relationship btw content and style, measuring the aggressiveness of an ad campaign; the lies some images tell; the focus on the empty concept of "luxury" compared to plain beauty, to creativity or to technical innovation.
Ok, we know all that… Now all campaigns look the same, few stores have a "different" athmosphere, fewer big brands offer an image of luxury-with-content. But she’s 90 y.o.! She’s been an icon, with her husband, for everyone in the fashion, design and communication fields for years! And she put it in a way that was not "political" but esthetical, so chic. Graphic design and art direction are part of a bigger game. You don’t need just to be good, you must be aware, somehow. For those who understand italian, you can check out this website, socialdesignzine. There might be some links to english speaking blogs or websites on the subject.
This is a poster Albe and Lica Steiner did in 1956.