Fonts tell the story: Domus creative Giuseppe Basile on what he learned after 32 years in the business
Giuseppe Basile aka Domus magazine's art director is leaving the acclaimed publication after 32 years of service.
In an interview shared by Domus, Basile talked about the design transition from analog to digital and more.
“I joined Domus in 1998 with the idea of staying there for two or three years: I came out after 32 years. I had been working for ten years in the publishing world, then one day, by pure chance, a friend of mine showed me an ad in Corriere della Sera... you know, once you had whole pages of job ads in the newspaper. The ad went more or less like this: ‘International publishing house, architecture magazine, searches for a graphic design manager in Rozzano, Italy’. I thought, this is Domus! Inequivocable. I answered the ad and within 20 days I was hired. I had several interviews, the first one with Italo Lupi, who was then the art director of the magazine during the direction of Mario Bellini, and on the third meeting I walked out with my hiring letter” says Giuseppe Basile who is retiring after three decades.
“Domus has been my life. Unlike other projects – a poster, the cover of a music album – it is not an experience that is born and ends after a short time” says Basile whose editorial design process remains true to himself.
“I always say that I could design a porn magazine as much as a culture magazine because my design process somehow bypasses the content. I’ve never seen myself as an editorial graphic designer specializing in specialized magazines, whether they were fashion or architecture and design. Take for example Playboy from the golden years. All the greatest graphic designers collaborated with Playboy, as well as the greatest opinion leaders, such as Alberto Moravia. There was more text on those pages than in many cultural magazines today. The 60’s issues of Domus and Playboy had black pages, full of text, always interesting to read” he adds.
“So for a graphic designer making a magazine means adopting or giving birth to a child, and it is a project that never ends. Few other magazines in the world have the story of Domus and are still alive. It means that this child, as long as you feed and care for it, continues to respond.”
In the interview which you can read here, Basile talks about the masters of design he admires -Roberto Orefice, Nanni Valentini, Narciso Silvestrini. Ivan Chermayeff, Alan Fletcher, Robert Brownjohn, Italo Lupi, Massimo Vignelli and Simon Esterson- the many publishing industry challenges in the course of three decades, the importance of mastering the basics in typography and graphic design, the one single advice to young aspiting art directors and the difference between Helvetica and Bodoni.
“Fonts tell the story of the historical period they belong to. Every artistic movement has produced architecture that you see reflected in clothes, objects and typography. Each typeface brings with it a world. Then there are characters that have gone through history so brilliantly like Bodoni. Here we are at the beginning of printing and is still one of the most beautiful characters today. The study behind it is perfect, has brought this harmony between the thickness of the letters, the magic of certain curves giving extreme readability” he says.
Read more here.