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How Francesco Franchi remodeled the typographic medium of today

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ntelligence literally means being able to understand and quickly comprehend what we see” writes Francesco Franchi in his contribution to Malofiej17 Annual Publication. “Infographics are not just a translation of what can be read to what can be seen. They help us understand, create and experience our reality. They reveal the hidden, explain the complex and illuminate the obscure. They definitely are an exercise of journalism” he adds. Typography has found a new hero in the face of this man who reinvented the way the letters and the images interact and supplement each other. The art director at IL, the monthly magazine of Italy’s leading financial daily, Il Sole 24 ORE which quickly became the envy of designers since he redesigned it back in 2011 for its vibrant use of letterforms is a hybrid himself. Part designer, part journalist Franchi embraced new languages in journalism by creating “a visual form that is as graphic as it is narrative, as entertaining as it is informative”. A member of The Society of Publication Designer and professional member of AIAP, the Italian Council of Communication Design and a professor to various academic institutions Franchi’s work has been awarded on numerous occasions, including the European Design Awards. His non-linear and innovative storytelling in today’s editorial design.

Revisiting what the Ancient Greeks called ‘mnemotechnics’ (this elaborate memory system, based on a technique of impressing ‘places’ and ‘images’ on the mind) Franchi is on a mission to train our memory through clear, bold typography and manipulative images. From breaking news to analysis, from interviews to commentaries, from photo essays and illustrations to information graphics and interactive visualizations of data, reporting is telling a continuous narrative in a way that is most relevant for a broad range of traditional and digital media for him. His book Designing News outlines a new, integrated approach for editorial designers that proves that they have the key to evolve a whole medium.

For him any contemporary designer should be able to understand the evolution of the visual communication languages, to approach it thoroughly, to manipulate it extensively and to conceive infographic as a process of visual production able to generate knowledge and better understanding of reality. Eventually he wants to make the world a better, more understandable places long as the modern designer of today knows the finer points of type. “While words and sentences are part of the verbal communication system, images and graphical representations are the key elements for visual communication” he explains. “Because infographics use a combination of images, words and numbers, they operate in a hybrid system touching both fields, the verbal and the visual. Because of that they offer us the greatest opportunity to increase the effectiveness of our communications”.

“We should always be aware of the message and how it will be perceived by the reader. Design is not just about making things simple, but it is also about innovation, stimulation and creating a satisfying and provocative route for a designer motivated by his own creativity” Francesco Franchi adds. “Through the use of Information graphics we can present complex issues in an easily digestible and recognizable form, without which much of the data would remain obscure” he concluded. Keeping the message clear and central is this man’s mission and his typographic skills are his weaponry for a concise and communication.