Bruno Munari’s ABC

If I believed in ripping out book pages {gasp} and destroying the portable bundled art {shock}, and had children of my own {awe…aww//get it?!}, I would demolish the living daylights out of this book and plaster the walls with the pictures.

<Collecting myself. I am a composed and responsible adult. I am a composed and responsible adult. I am a composed and responsible adult.>

See…that black cat’s yellow eyes look slightly afraid of me. Keep calm and just read my book like a normal person, lady.

This is Bruno Munari’s ABC, a masterpiece from 1960. 1960! According to the dust jacket copy, Bruno Munari was an artist, graphic designer, art director and children’s book creator and “exhibited with the second Futurist movement.” The what? Futurism’s origins were in Italy in the early 20th century, and the art themes that emerged celebrated modern technology. Futurism largely influenced the Art Deco movement, of which there are glimpses even in this ‘simple’ picture book.

Bruno Munari’s body of work is a perfect example of the art of the picture book being legitimate and renowned. They may not hang in The Louvre, or the Met, or the Getty, or even on my own walls {hmmph}, but they are truly relevant works of art.


Fakeout. Typography is not so much an element of design; rather, it is a discipline all its own. Not to mention typography comes with an entire lexicon of unfamiliar descriptors. For example:

from this crazy beautiful book: THE TYPOGRAPHIC DESK REFERENCE

Mind boggling and overwhelming? Yes. Wheeze-inducing and squeal-worthy for the typophile? Yes.

But we will start at the very beginning. Because typography gives a voice to words, the design of the letters on a page is as important as the meaning that they represent.

Throughout his ABC book, Bruno Munari’s letters act as graphic illustrations, becoming an intentional part of the layout in addition to just their function as the next letter in line.

Perhaps in future posts we can explore more of the typography nitty gritty. For now, just appreciate the letter as an art form itself. That alone is the ultimate purpose of typography.

One Comment

  • Suellen
    Posted October 16, 2011 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Yay, Carter! Typography (I am an aspiring typophile – have been all my life) and the cutest cat drawing ever. Thanks.

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