Bob Noorda (1927-2010) was one of the main contributors to the renewal of Italian graphic design. He was born in Amsterdam and moved to Milan in 1953. Active since the 1960s, his collaborations with the masters of ‘made in Italy’ design of the time, in a fertile and innovative environment like that of Milan, contributed to elevating the culture of graphics and design within the fervent debate between visual communication and industry of those years. There are countless projects, many prestigious, in which Noorda was a protagonist. With Massimo Vignelli, he founded Unimark, a famous agency that brought them international fame thanks to the visual identity of the Milan, São Paulo and New York subways. We owe it to Noorda, his approach and method, to introduce the concept of corporate identity in Italy and above all to have strongly emphasised the importance and centrality of design.
A cult book, dedicated to the undisputed master of visual communication Bob Noorda, which reviews half a century of his career in which he created more than one hundred and sixty brands.
In a long and impassioned dialogue with graphic designer Francesco Dondina, Noorda retraces contemporary icons whose sign, with its deep-rooted rationalist imprint, has given face and identity to industry and recognisability to our metropolitan routes. A timeless communication, Noorda’s, as demonstrated by the fact that many of the logos and designs he designed have survived the visual trends of recent decades, remaining almost identical to the original versions: the signage of the Milan and New York subways, the logos of Coop, Mondadori, Touring Club and Feltrinelli are just a few examples.
The book also reveals a strong regret for a cultured Italy, open to the new, where the company directors were Enrico Mattei and Adriano Olivetti; where Milanese culture was marked by Gio Ponti’s Pirelli and Piero Bassetti’s Regione Lombardia; where architects, designers and intellectuals exchanged views with each other and with the world, in a free flow of thought and planning. According to Bob Noorda, reflection on visual design cannot elude the need to bring the culture of design back to the centre of debate, from academic lecture halls to boards of directors and even the seats of politics. After the first edition in 2009, Una vita nel segno della grafica (A Life in the Sign of Graphic Design) returns in this renewed 184-page edition, 48 of which are in colour, with a selection of the great master’s most representative works and an unpublished text by Massimo Vignelli, founder together with Noorda of the internationally renowned agency Unimark.
The book is aimed at the entire world of visual design, enthusiasts, teachers, students of graphics and design, and of course the connoisseurs of this now legendary figure.
Interview by Francesco Dondina with Bob Noorda Book design by Bunker
13.5 × 21.5 cm 184 pages (48 full colour) Paperback Italian Isbn 978-88-98030-37-8 First published April 2021