Futurist Typography and the Liberated Text

Alan Bartram

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A unique look at how Futurism influenced and changed twentieth-century graphic design

In the early decades of the twentieth century, European artists, poets, and designers called for the destruction of outdated assumptions about vision and language. Numerous manifestos resulted, demanding new artistic forms. None of these manifestos was more aggressive and poetic, or wider in scope than Filippo Tomasso Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto of 1909. Painting, sculpture, literature, architecture, theatre, cinema, and music were all caught up in its net. Typography—until then a distant relative in the arts—also played a major role in Marinetti’s program.

Written by leading design scholar Alan Bartram, this fascinating book examines the rise and evolution of the Futurists’ approach to typography and graphic design, placing it within the context of contemporary artistic and literary movements. The volume features examples of some eighty Futurist books or other designs for print, many of them relatively unknown or previously unpublished, accompanied by new translations of over twenty of the featured texts. Bartram illuminates the complicated meanings of the Futurist designers’ graphic works in order to provide a new understanding of their extraordinary and influential visual language.

Alan Bartram is a book designer and author of many titles on graphic design, including Five Hundred Years of Book Design (2001) and Bauhaus, Modernism, and the Illustrated Book (2004), both published by Yale University Press.

"Bartram examines the Futurists' approach to typography and graphic design in particular. . . . Through historical visuals and brief but thorough explanations, Bartram sheds light on each piece's meaning. With a deep understanding of this genre's influence in graphic design, he explains the Futurists' advances in type and design within the context of contemporary artistic and literary movements."—Step Inside Design
ISBN: 9780300114324
Publication Date: March 10, 2006
Publishing Partner: British Library
160 pages, 7 x 11
100 b/w + 36 color illus.