On My Bookshelf: Le Forchette di Munari

Ever anthropomorphized your cutlery? Well, after seeing these illustrations of forks, you will. This is another art book by Bruno Munari from the publishing house Corraini EdizioniMunari also published his "Supplemental Italian Dictionary" explaining what each expressive Italian hand gesture means. And this book illustrates that same concept in a playful way— through forks! 

The book itself is as quirky as its subject matter. It is so narrow, there is no proper place to store or display it. But that is all part of its charm. I love the silver ink on a pink cover stock and the exposed spine binding with contrasting black thread. The whole thing makes me smile and giggle when I flip through its pages. It's nice to see a designer take things less seriously and just make something silly. 

Meg O'Brien | On My Bookshelf
Meg O'Brien | On My Bookshelf
Meg O'Brien | On My Bookshelf
Meg O'Brien | On My Bookshelf
Meg O'Brien | On My Bookshelf
Meg O'Brien | On My Bookshelf
Meg O'Brien | On My Bookshelf
Meg O'Brien | On My Bookshelf
Meg O'Brien | On My Bookshelf

On My Bookshelf: Contanti Auguri

This book was a speedy little charrette for Bruno Munari, only taking 7 days to design and make ready. It's a very light, compact book. How to use it? As the title suggests, "this little book is excellent to give your best wishes to relatives, friends, neighbours or anybody you wish. Since it is written in (almost) every language of the world, you will also have (almost) no possibility to make mistakes or blunders in giving it as a present to your most distant friends." 

On My Bookshelf: Flight of Fancy

Diecut into the cover of Flight of Fancy are twenty-one randomly scattered dots. Imaginging these series of dots to be locations— cities, Bruno Munari finds various ways to connect them. It's a pocket-sized book that takes a design exercise and turns into into book form, with Munari providing explanations to his thought processes along the way. Quoting the interior explanation of the exercise: "Let's look at [the dots] as reference points around which and with which we will establish clusters— connections— formal relationships— using straight lines, curved lines, or lines of dots or whatever. The game consists in inventing lots of different ways of connecting, linking, grouping together these dots." 

It's a very simple book. But I love it for its brevity and singularity. 

On My Bookshelf: The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog

I like the idea of turning a design exercise into a mini publication. In this book, Roberto Beretta makes a photographic alphabet out of his surroundings in London. It's as much about photography as it is about typography. My favorites are the J and the Z. Funny thing about this is creating a photographic alphabet was my very first graphic design assignment in undergrad. I wonder if my professors found this book and it inspired the idea for the assignment… 

Another thing that's interesting is that the content streams from cover to cover. The artist statement and colophon are in the center of the book. The almost pocket-sized covers are backed in a thick paperboard which makes it wonderful to hold and interact with. 

Roberto Beretta

On My Bookshelf: Supplementary Italian Dictionary

I have a collection (or hoard) of artbooks that I've been wanting to share more broadly, so here's the first installation of "On My Bookshelf". The artbooks that I purchased while studying abroad in Italy are some of my most prized possessions. If my house was on fire, I would most certainly grab these on my way out the door! And if there is one artist and designer that dominates the field of artbooks, at least in my opinion, it is Bruno Munari (1907-1998). I was able to purchase several of his books abroad and I wish I could go back for more! 

In this book, Munari has made a catalogue of all the famous Italian gestures and spelled out what they all mean for us foreigners. Some are more familiar than others. I love the photography in these, he makes a point to show the gestures with men, women and children. It's also interesting to me to think about these gestures in a historical lens, e.g. the Romans. 

Munari
gestures
Gestures.jpg
excellente
satisfied