Books on Designers

5 Books Featuring Bruno Munari

October 24, 2013

October 24 marks the birthday of graphic and industrial designer, artist, and inventor Bruno Munari (1907–98), a member of the second Italian Futurist generation whose witty designs can be found in advertising, design manuals, children’s books and games, and more. Here are five books from our contributors featuring his work.

Design as Art Bruno Munari

# 1 Design Best Seller at Strand Bookstore, New York (December 2013).

From the Publisher. One of the last members of the Futurist generation, born in 1907 in Milan (d. 1998), Bruno Munari was among the most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as the new “Leonardo.” Munari insisted that design be beautiful, functional, and accessible, and this enlightening and highly entertaining book sets out his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design and the role it plays in the objects we use and encounter everyday, including lamps, road signs, typography, posters, children’s books, advertising, cars, and chairs.

Fantasia Bruno Munari

From the Publisher. Fantasy, invention, and creativity in visual communication. Is it possible to understand how these human faculties work? How are they related to intelligence and memory? Italian designer and design writer Bruno Munari (1907–98) answers these questions in clear, accessible prose, using a host of original and well-known examples. He also explains how creativity can be stimulated and how the mind can be trained to achieve greater elasticity and responsiveness.

Speak Italian: The Fine Art of the Gesture Bruno Munari

From the Publisher. They say that a gesture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to speaking with your hands, the Italians speak volumes. This quirky handbook of Italian gestures, first published in 1958 by renowned Milanese artist and graphic designer Bruno Munari, will help the phalange-phobic decipher the unspoken language of gestures—a language not found in any dictionary. Charming black-and-white photos and wry captions evoke an Italy of days gone by. Speak Italian gives a little hand to anyone who has ever been at a loss for words.

Bruno Munari (1907-1998), internationally acclaimed painter, sculptor, photographer, graphic designer, and creator of books, was a member of the Milanese Futurist group and taught at universities in Europe and America. Munari also designed advertisements, objects, toys, and games. His artwork has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and in museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Bruno Munari Aldo Tanchis

Pablo Picasso described Bruno Munari as "the new Leonardo." Munari insisted that design be beautiful, functional and accessible. This Munari-designed volume (original English-language edition) was the first comprehensive accounting of his achievements.

Bruno Munari has been the enfant terrible of Italian art and design for most of this century. Munari was born in 1907 in Milan and it was against the active background of futurism that his artistic experiments developed, but his mechanical fantasies, practical inventions, and didactic writings continue to be enjoyed by a public that has no memory of Balla, Prampolini, and Marinetti.

Munari’s 40-odd books, ranging from futurist manifestoes to design manuals to children's books, have been widely read in many languages. But this book, itself designed by Munari, is the first comprehensive account of his total achievement. Here are the Unreadable Books (that told stories through the possibilities of typography, papermaking, and binding), Traveling Sculptures, Fossils of the Year 2000, Theoretical Reconstruction of Imaginary Objects, Original Xerographies, Negative Positives, and the famous Useless Machines of the 1930s (constructions for wagging the tails of lazy dogs, predicting dawn, making sobs sound musical) as well as numerous other works, some published for the first time.

The hundreds of illustrations, many in full color, recreate Munari's relentless inventiveness, his love of irony, chance and humor, his intensely experimental orientation and constantly fresh approach to new technologies and materials.

Air Made Visible Claude Lichenstein Editor
Alfredo Häberli Editor

A visual reader on the work of Bruno Munari.

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