A book for your inspiration collection: Giovanni Pintori

I’m sharing my design books collection to help encourage designers to drag web design out from its rut. I recommend this book about the work of Italian designer Giovanni Pintori.


Giovanni Pintori

Giovanni Pintori was born in Sardinia in 1912 and became one of the most influential European graphic designers of the 20th century. He became known for the distinctive style he crafted into Olivetti’s design language for over 30 years.

During his career at Olivetti, Pintori designed the company’s advertising, brochures, and even their annual calendars. Pintori’s aesthetic style was bold and confident. He used bright colours from minimal colour palettes and combined them with shapes to fill his designs with energy. About his designs for Olivetti, Pintori said:

“I do not attempt to speak on behalf of the machines. Instead, I have tried to make them speak for themselves, through the graphic presentation of their elements, their operations and their use.”

But Pintori’s work wasn’t just playful, it was thoughtful. His choice of shapes wasn’t abstract. Shapes suggested the benefits of using a product rather than describe its features literally. Pintori didn’t just illustrate products, he brought them to life through his designs by suggesting how they might be used and what they could do to enhance people’s lives and work.

Work by Giovanni Pintori

Pintori defined Olivetti’s image far beyond his time at the company, and he continued to work on projects with them after leaving in 1967. He established his own studio in Milan, where he worked as a freelance designer, before retiring and dedicating himself to painting.

Work by Giovanni Pintori

I’ve never heard Pintori’s name mentioned at a web design conference. This is surprising considering how his work could influence designers in bringing products to life online.

Buy the book

Pintori by Marta SironiGiovanni Pintori died in Milan in 1999, and there’s a book, Pintori by Marta Sironi and published by Moleskine which catalogs his astonishing career. It deserves its space on my bookcase, and yours.


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