Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876 -1944)

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Born: 22 December, 1876
Died: 2 December, 1944

Although he was more known as a writer and a theorist, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was a revolutionary Italian typographer in that he pushed beyond the boundaries of ordinary typography and experimented with expressive type. He is an important component to the Futurist beginnings of typography. As a writer/poet, he wanted to express his words through design in ways that would reflect the changes around society during his time. The concept of Futurism comes from ideas about the future, of speed, technology, violence… revolutionary changes that were occurring during Marinetti’s time.

Marinetti mostly worked with published print. As a poet, he published many poetic techniques and prose, such as the “Manifesto tecnico della letteratura Futurista”. It was in these such prints and publications that his works were so revolutionary because of his avant-garde approach to the representation of the type. He wanted to stray away from the traditional and formal ways to print words, sentences, paragraphs, and the common book design. Instead, he incorporated his Futurist ideas in adding movement to type, by creating expressive typography. He believed in “words in freedom”.

“I call for a typographic revolution directed against the idiotic and nauseating concepts of the outdated and conventional book, with its handmade paper and seventeenth century ornamentation of garlands and goddesses, huge initials and mythological vegetation, its missal ribbons and epigraphs and roman numerals. The book must be the Futurist expression of our futurist ideas.. even more: My revolution is directed against what is known as the typographic harmony of the page, which is contrary to the flux and movement of style.” – Marinetti, Typographic Revolution, 1913