Germano Facetti: A Nazi labour camp survivor who revolutionised British boo...

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Italian Cultural Institute

Belgrave Square

39

London

SW1X 8NX

United Kingdom

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On the occasion of the Insiders Outsiders Festival

With Phil Baines, Rick Poynor and Chiara Barbieri

Presented by Chiara Barbieri, the event will open with a screening of the documentary “The Yellow Box: Short History of Hate” (27’) directed by Anthony West. In this, Facetti recalls his experience as a prisoner, commenting on drawings, pictures and documents he made and collected at Mauthausen concentration camp.

Following the screening, guest speakers Rick Poynor (University of Reading) and Phil Baines (Central Saint Martins) will present Facetti’s contributions to British design, publishing and visual culture with a focus on his work as Art Director at Penguin Books in the 1960s.

Germano Facetti (1926-2006) headed design at Penguin Books from 1962 to 1971. Born in Milan, he was arrested in 1943 for putting up anti-Fascist posters. He was deported to Mauthausen as a forced labourer, where he met the architect Ludovico Belgiojoso who later invited him to join his practice in Milan. He moved to London in the early 1950s where he took evening classes in typography at the Central School of Art & Design. By the late 1950s he was art director at Aldus Books and working as an interior designer, working briefly in Paris. It was his interior for the Poetry Bookshop in Soho that inspired the director of Penguin, Allen Lane, to invite him to join as the art director in 1960. Facetti was instrumental in redesigning the Penguin line, introducing phototypesetting, the 'Marber grid', offset-litho printing and photography to their paperback covers. Facetti was also responsible for the black cover designs of the Penguin Classics series from 1963. He recruited a number of leading designers of the day, and one of his important achievements for Penguin was to impose a consistently high standard of cover design.

Phil Baines is Subject Leader for Typography at Central Saint Martins. He has worked freelance for publishers such as Penguin Books, Phaidon, and Thames and Hudson, and he has written several books on typography and graphic design. With Catherine Dixon, he curated the Central Lettering Record, part of the college’s Museum and Contemporary Collection.

Rick Poynor is Professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading. Much of his writing as journalist, critic and historian has focused on the intersection of graphic design with adjacent areas of the arts and on design as a pervasive and transformative component of visual culture. He has lectured on these subjects at conferences and public events around the world and has worked internationally as a curator of design exhibitions.

Chiara Barbieri is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art as well as a postdoc researcher at HKB - Bern University of the Arts, where she collaborates on the research project “Swiss Graphic Design and Typography Revisited”. She also collaborates with Ecal - University of Art and Design Lausanne on a research project on the Milanese years of Xanti Schawinsky.

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Italian Cultural Institute

Belgrave Square

39

London

SW1X 8NX

United Kingdom

View Map

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