The mesmerising graphic design of mid-century typewriter manufacturer Olivetti
- Rebecca Fulleylove
- 31 May 2016
Our craving for minimalism in today’s chaotic and information-heavy world is only further indulged when looking at the work of Olivetti, one of the leading manufacturers of typewriters of the mid-20th Century. Founded in 1908 by Camillo Olivetti in Italy, the company continually favoured design over pure functionalism and was responsible for some of the most iconic hand-typing devices and early computers of the era.
While known for its technological advancements, the collateral Olivetti created to advertise its wares is equally as fascinating and in a new show at the ICA, Olivetti’s graphic and spatial design is on full display. A graphic designer’s dream, Olivetti: Beyond Form and Function showcases photographs, films and ephemera relating to Olivetti’s creative output and focuses largely on the industrial boom of the post-war era.
Highlights include the beautifully designed posters that combine bold graphics and saturated photography seen throughout the 50s and 60s. These works and others embody the values of Olivetti’s design ethos, which communicated complex information through a simplified aesthetic that’s still emulated today. As well as posters and adverts, this approach was also adopted for its showrooms and window displays and an insight into the architecture and installations Olivetti commissioned can also be seen in the show.
Olivetti: Beyond Form and Function is on now at the ICA, London until 17 July 2016.
About the Author
Rebecca Fulleylove is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and culture. She is also senior writer at Creative Review, having previously worked at Elephant, Google Arts & Culture, and It’s Nice That.