Futurism (1909-1944) __________________


  • The stirring "Manifesto of Futurism" by Italian poet Filippo T. Marinetti voiced enthusiasm for war, the machine age, speed, and modern life.

  • The fusion of the cubist painting and the futurist poetry

  • celebration of the machine age, glorifying war and favoring the growth of fascism.


  • Futurism, as opposed to Cubism--essentially visual movement, found its roots in poetry and in a whole renovation of language, and featured the concept of the New Typography.

  • The futurist poets believed that the use of different sizes, weights, and styles of type allowed them to weld painting and poetry, because the intrinsic beauty of letterforms, manipulated creatively, transformed the printed page into a work of visual art.


parole in libertà (words-in-freedom) (1914)
Carlo Carré



G. Guidi-Parole in libertà (words-in-freedom)
Filippo T. Marinetti


The futurist poets used a painterly typographic design
called parole in libertá (words in freedom) which defied correct
syntax and grammar, to express their emotionally charged
poetry as works of visual art.


Montagne + Vallate + Strade x Joffre
Translates: ("Mountains + Valleys + Streets x Joffre) (1915)
Filippo T. Marinetti

Zang Tumb Tumb (1914)
Filippo T. Marinetti






  • Appollinare was a french poet and a rivalry of Marintetti.

  • Appollinare's unique contribution to graphic design was the 1918 publication of a book entitled Calligrammes.



  • Calligrammes was a collection of peoms in which the letterforms were arranged to form a visual design or figure.

  • In these poems he explored the potential fusion of peotry and painting.



A poem from Calligrammes (1918)
Guillaume Apollinaire

The typography becomes a bird, a water fountain, and an eye in this expressive design.



"il Pleut"
("it's raining"), from Calligrammes (1918)
Guillaume Apollinaire


Calligrammes before Futurism


A futurist style page would include:

  • 3 or 4 ink colors
  • 20 typefaces (italics for quick impressions
  • boldface typefaces as a visual description of a violenet noise and sound.
  • Words had expressive power.
The visual shape or size of the word would stand for the velocity of stars, clouds, airplanes, trains, waves, explosives and other technology words.



Fortunato Depero

  • One of the artists who applied futurist philosophy to graphic and advertising design.


New Futurist Theater Company Poster (1924)
Fortunato Depero

  • In 1927, he published a compilation of his typographical experiments, advertisements, and other works as Dinamo Azari .

  • This book is a first-hand account of the Futurist Fortunato Depero's approach to Futurism until 1927.

  • First time featured a mechanical binding consisting of two bolts holding the pages together, as conceived by Fedele Azari, the publisher.

  • Influenced by the focus on the machine that characterized Futurism in the early 1920s— book should be considered a manifesto of the Machine Age.



Dinamo Azari (1927)
Fortunato Depero


  • Depero's innovation was not confined to the cover; the inside text features a wealth of typographic inventions including the use of different typefaces, the text formed into various shapes, the use of different papers and colours, and several other devices.

  • Depero's work influenced America's movement toward modernism.

Other Futurist Books

Parole in Liberta: olfattive, tattili, termicle (words-in-freedom: olfactory, tactile, thermal)(1932)
Filippo T. Marinetti

L'anguria lirica (Lyric cucumber), (1934)
Tullio d'Albisola
Printed and bound on metal sheets, cover and illustrations by Bruno Munari.


  • This is the second, and actually the last, book printed on metal sheets by the Futurists.

  • The author himself (Tullio d'Albisola) was also the publisher under the name of "Litolatta," a firm especially founded to produce such metal-books.

  • Unlike the other famous metal book (by F.T. Marinetti), this one features illustration by Bruno Munari, now a world-renowned designer but at the time only a young, though talented, Futurist painter.
  • While illustrations for Marinetti's book were essentially a kind of "visual poetry," Munari's are in a pictorial style, and, in particular, feature a cosmic allure typical of the time.

  • Futurist painting followed the new theories of Aeropittura (Flight Painting) as well as reflected the influence of Enrico Prampolini, at the time the undisputed leading personality of the Futurist movement.



Bifszf + 18 Simultaneite Chimismi Iirici (1915) (Cover)
Ardengo Soffici



  • This is a book of the greatest rarity because in 1966, many copies were destroyed when the River Arno in Florence flooded.

  • This is absolutely the most important book that came out of Florentine Futurism, and it is also the main Futurist work by this author, who was also a great Futurist painter.

  • The cover, designed by the author, features a typographic collage that can be seen as an anticipation of later Dadaist ones.



    Bifszf + 18 Simultaneite Chimismi Iirici (1915) (inside)
    Ardengo Soffici


  • Inside, the book offers excellent examples of Futurist poetry, with "words-in-freedom," calligrammes, and many typographic experiments.

  • The contents recall Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Lautréamont, in the same way that André Breton's poetry later recalled Soffici.