Minimalist graphic designer Giulia Boccarossa tells us how her background in classical studies influences her creative work

The Italian designer describes her practice as “an experimental approach mixed with deep cultural research.”

Date
13 December 2021

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Describing herself as “a rather lonely child,” Pesaro-based Giulia Boccarossa says her interest in creativity began using drawing to “help me express my inner self and fight shyness over time.” Following on from this, however, Giulia views her creative journey as “unconscious”. Prior to delving into design, she took classical studies. And, when she finally made the switch to the creative industries she “did not even have a proper laptop nor any idea how to use Adobe programmes.” Going on to earn a degree in industrial design from the University of the Republic of San Marino, Giulia then continued her studies at ISIA U in Urbino for a master’s in communication and design. Since her studies, Giulia’s work has flourished. She has developed a deeply personal and distinctive style and has undertaken numerous projects; from poster design to exhibition projects and editorial pieces.

Despite moving from classical studies to graphic design, Giulia still cites classical influences as a foremost component of her work. She tells us that inspiration for her design comes mostly from the “material that I have accumulated over time by researching in a wide variety of libraries, museums and archives.” This eclectic approach is perhaps most prevalent in her project 12 poster filosofici (12 philosophical posters). Giulia describes the project as “combin[ing] the discipline of illustration with some of the best-known notions of philosophical, historical and theoretical nature.” And certainly, each poster – adorned with a single bold image or design oozes with historical reference. The standout piece features a lit Menorah lamp, another shows a mythical, two-headed figure whilst one features a cross emblazoned with an eye. And whilst the posters hark to centuries past, Giulia’s design work revitalises them with contemporary flair and detail.

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Giulia Boccarossa: 12 poster filosofici i.e. Twelve philosophical posters, 30x40 cm, silkscreen printing, 1 colour (Copyright © Giulia Boccarossa, 2021)

The project that Giulia views as being the one in which she was able to most “freely express [her] point of view,” however, was the installation Polyphõnia. The project consisted of 60 photographic works by Pino Musi, exhibited in the “magnificent” Pomona Temple in Salerno. Perfectly complementing the exhibition, the asymmetric patterns on Giulia’s promotional posters pose a vivid contrast to the classical architecture of the Pomona Temple. The project proved a particularly important period of creative growth for Giulia, as she was able to improve her exhibition design in which she has “always been interested.”

Rather than being restricted by her starkly black and white palette, it is the element that most distinguishes Giulia’s work. The lack of colour draws attention to her bold patterns and images and her carefully selected and perfected typography. Giulia cites the musings of Italian designer Bruno Munari as “expressing my idea of simplification and minimalism in a perfect way”: “everyone is capable of complicating. Few are able to simplify [...] to simplify you need to remove, and to remove you need to know what to remove.”

With the vastness of Giulia’s body of work, you could easily think she has left no creative stone unturned, but there is so much more to come – including two upcoming editorial projects commissioned by Witty Books. The first, Meiwo combines the visual work of artist Jacopo Benassi with a music cassette by the Italian band Larsen, whilst the second I found the light in the darkness, is a collection of the work of London-based illustrator Julia Soboleva. We can't wait to see how they turn out.

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Giulia Boccarossa: Polyphōnia exhibition brochure, 16 x 23,4 cm, 16 pages, offset printing, 300 copies (Copyright © Giulia Boccarossa, Pino Musi, 2021)

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Giulia Boccarossa: Polyphōnia exhibition (Copyright © Giulia Boccarossa and Pino Musi, 2021)

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Giulia Boccarossa: Polyphōnia exhibition (Copyright © Giulia Boccarossa and Pino Musi, 2021)

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Giulia Boccarossa: Mario Cresci. Segni migranti. Storie di grafica e fotografia, softcover, 21 x 27 cm, 624 pages [Copyright © Mario Cresci (author), Postcart (editor) Antezza Tipografi (printing house), Mauro Bubbico (supervisor), Giulia Boccarossa, Silvia Benvenuti, Benedette Ettorre, Chiara Netto and Paolo Angelini, 2019]

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Giulia Boccarossa: Mario Cresci. Segni migranti. Storie di grafica e fotografia, selected pages, 21 x 27 cm, 624 pages [Copyright © Mario Cresci (author), Postcart (editor) Antezza Tipografi (printing house), Mauro Bubbico (supervisor), Giulia Boccarossa, Silvia Benvenuti, Benedette Ettorre, Chiara Netto and Paolo Angelini, 2019]

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Giulia Boccarossa: New Wave, visual identity and exhibition design (Copyright © Giulia Boccarossa, Marta Adamkowska, Simone Allevi, Fabio Bacchini, Domenico Bellantuono, Sara Ceradini, Gianluca Ciancaglini, Giacomo Dal Prà, Gloria Favaro, Giorgia Florenzano, Alessandro Latela, Luca Longobardi, Cecilia Murgia, Nicola Narbone, 2018)

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Giulia Boccarossa: New Wave, visual identity and exhibition design (Copyright © Giulia Boccarossa, Marta Adamkowska, Simone Allevi, Fabio Bacchini, Domenico Bellantuono, Sara Ceradini, Gianluca Ciancaglini, Giacomo Dal Prà, Gloria Favaro, Giorgia Florenzano, Alessandro Latela, Luca Longobardi, Cecilia Murgia, Nicola Narbone, 2018)

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Giulia Boccarossa: New Wave, visual identity and exhibition design (Copyright © Giulia Boccarossa, Marta Adamkowska, Simone Allevi, Fabio Bacchini, Domenico Bellantuono, Sara Ceradini, Gianluca Ciancaglini, Giacomo Dal Prà, Gloria Favaro, Giorgia Florenzano, Alessandro Latela, Luca Longobardi, Cecilia Murgia, Nicola Narbone, 2018)

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Giulia Boccarossa: Aut!, visual identity and exhibition design (Copyright © Giulia Boccarossa, Marta Adamkowska, Simone Allevi, Paolo Angelini, Fabio Bacchini, Emma Berthaud, Domenico Bellantuono, Silvia Benvenuti, Sara Ceradini, Gianluca Ciancaglini, Claudia Dagostino, Giacomo Dal Prà, Sebastian De Bellis, Mariachiara De Leo, Benedetta Ettorre, Gloria Favaro, Giorgia Florenzano, Alessandro Latela, Luca Longobardi, Alberto Malossi, Cecilia Murgia, Nicola Narbone, Chiara Netto, Eva Ožbot, Joanna Pellizer, Elio Raimondi, Valeria Santamaria, Anja Svajger, Francesca Tebaldini, 2018)

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Giulia Boccarossa: Polyphōnia banner, 600x300 cm, offset printing (Copyright © Giulia Boccarossa, Pino Musi, 2021)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in illustration, photography, ceramic design and platforming creativity from the north of England.

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