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Libri Nuovi nameplate (1971)

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Jan 2nd, 2022. Artwork published in .
    Libri Nuovi nameplate (1971) 2
    Source: aiap.it Fondo Nicola Russo / Archivio Storico del Progetto Grafico, Aiap. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Libri Nuovi (“New Books”) is a periodical by publisher Einaudi from Turin, Italy. According to book seller Libreria Coliseum, a total of 22 issues were published between 1968 and 1977. Apparently the issues came with ever-changing nameplate designs, which were sourced through a competition.

    In 1971, a proposal by Nicola Russo was selected. The designer from Padua used multiline letterforms that seem to be taken from his Neo Prisma, with modifications. Neo Prisma is a typeface design that he submitted to Mecanorma’s contest, and that would be produced by the French manufacturer of rubdown type in 1972. However, chances are that this wordmark came first, and the typeface was subsequently developed from it.

    Russo is a graphic designer, not a trained typeface designer. While individual letterforms in Neo Prisma are striking, they don’t always work together in every combination. Its success depends on the letter sequence in question: sometimes the result is great, and sometimes it’s not. Russo was aware of the importance of spacing. When comparing the Libri Nuovi nameplate to the final typeface, there are a number of differences which address the issues: several letters are narrower, or were made narrower by means of cropping or overlapping. The B is basically a colon cut in half. Furthermore, verticals here have five lines, not four, and the O has a solid bullseye. The wordmark is livened up by the three dotted i’s – something that one could approximate with the all-caps Neo Prisma by using inverted exclamation marks – echoing the top bowls of B and R.

    “Libri Nuovi” set in Neo Prisma (left), compared to the actual nameplate design (right)
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    “Libri Nuovi” set in Neo Prisma (left), compared to the actual nameplate design (right)

    Russo designed another nameplate for Libri Nuovi, with outlined lowercase letters. It’s unclear if this competition entry was used.

    For context: the nameplates of six other issues of Einaudi’s Libri Nuovi. From top left to bottom right: No. 1 (June 1968), 2 (Sep. 1968), 6 (Dec. 1969), 13 (July 1973), 19 (Jan. 1976), 21 (Jan. 1977, feat. ).
    Source: www.coliseum.it Libreria Coliseum. License: All Rights Reserved.

    For context: the nameplates of six other issues of Einaudi’s Libri Nuovi. From top left to bottom right: No. 1 (June 1968), 2 (Sep. 1968), 6 (Dec. 1969), 13 (July 1973), 19 (Jan. 1976), 21 (Jan. 1977, feat. ITC Uptight Neon).

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    1 Comment on “Libri Nuovi nameplate (1971)”

    1. Nicola Russo used his Neo Prisma in more direct form for a logotype for Automarket Bonometti. Here he filled the gap between the second and third lines for a thick-thin look, just like he did for the (lowercase-only) Gemma.

      See also his logo designs for Blu Cherry Jeans and Forint Abbigliamento Marzotto.

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