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About Campo Grafico, the technical and aesthetic graphic magazine, published from 1933 to 1939, an Italian style incubator for typography and visual design.

The magazine “Campo Grafico - Technical and aesthetic graphic” was between the two wars in Milan (north of Italy) the most original collective venture in those that in retrospect they were defined “creative” years, when at the art galley “Il Milione” or at the cafe “Bar Craja” the ferments of modern taste multiplied, passing through from discussions and the exhibitions on abstract painting, to the debate on the fate of architecture up to the new typography, presented in Graphic Section of Germany” at the “V Triennale” and symbolized by the Futura typeface of Paul Renner.

The magazine immediately became an ideal aggregation point for indipendent and free spirits, many of which historically remained in absolute anonymity. Whatever their training, technical and / or artistic, they were open minds to the intellectual incitement that had characterized the European avant-gardes in the last decade.

“Campo Grafico” first editorial staff in the Dradi/Rossi office, in corso Vercelli (Milano - 1933). From left to right: Bruno Pallavera, Attilio Rossi, Pasinetti, Giuseppe Muggiani, Augusto Arguti and Carlo Dradi (seated).

As he recalled fifty years later, the co-founder Attilio Rossi, were the experiences and «the teachings of the Bauhaus, the stimulating lessons of “L'Esprit Nouvau”, of Ozenfant and Jeanneret, and of “Ornamento e delitto”, the famous essay of Adolf Loos, and also Gropius architecture, the rationalist movement of Le Corbusier, the masters of art (Klee, Kandinskij, Picasso, etc), without forget the new frontiers of modern music (Malipiero, Stravinskij)» that flowed programmatically into an entirely new experimental graphic arts magazine.

The adventure began in 1932 in a tavern in “Via delle Asole” street in Milan, were the core of the founders met periodically. There were a deep necessity of rejuvenation of graphic arts: from a technical point of view there were the intention to bring typographical quality at the photography greatness; in the aesthetic level it was necessary to overcome the now narrow and inadequate limits of neoclassical symmetries and typography as art; lastly, culturally, the innovation could only come from the contamination between typography, rational architecture and the European artistic avant-garde.

Number one Campo Grafico cover (​​designed by Carlo Dradi, Battista Pallavera, Attilio Rossi) and the magazine's opening page.

Finally the arguments of the new graphic aesthetics that Guido Modiano and Edoardo Persico had anticipadet in the magazine “tipografia” between 1931 and 1932 could be discussed, but even the identity and the role of the new professional figure of “graphic designer”, necessarrily passing through a deep transformation of teaching programs in professional schools.

The miracle was possible thanks to the free, voluntary and ospitality work of insiders (typographers, composers, lithographers, linotypers, fototipisti and graphics), but on public holidays, some typographies.

Some of the 66 covers of “Campo Grafico” magazine, all different as a result of graphic experimentation, signed by: Piero Bernardini (​​Year II / Nr. 10 / October 1934); Vordemberge Gildewart (​​Year II / Nr. 11 / November 1934); Carlo Dradi and Attilio Rossi - photo taken by Boggeri studio (​Year II / Nr. 12 / December 1934).

Supporters also supported various friends from other areas, since the constitution, were every night agreed typographers, graphics, painters, scenographers, sculptors, architects, overcoming the distinction between manual labor and intellectual work and class barriers - we measured artistic, human and political values with seriousness, critical spirit and adherence to reality that normally occurs only after a political and social revolution.

Only recently, thanks to the intersection of many testimony and memories, it was possible to reconstruct what was the real overall circulation of the magazine: 500 copies sold as a subscription to supporters and printers.

In addition to advertising and articles, the magazine also often contained inserts and attachments out of text, where they appeared applied various printed, as: book covers, writing papers, greeting cards, closing notice for holidays, posters, folding, postcards, graphic projects of school students, announcements, price lists… some of them inserted loose in the files and which unfortunately have mostly been lost.

Typical print sample that was applied on some pages of “Campo Grafico” magazine, in this case two graphic projects designed by the students of “Scuola del Libro di Milano” (​Year V / Nr. 5-6 / may-june 1937).

The published 66 number complete collection, as far as we know, they are counted on the fingers of one hand. The inserts out of foliation were independent typographic works of typographies, printed advertising for various clients or essays of the graphic tutorials of the schools.

Below different examples of interesting modern graphic layout designed by “Campo Grafico” magazine.

Look all the 66 numers of “Campo Grafico” magazine at: www.campografico.org

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