Italian Types 1

On Sunday I returned home from a two week visit to Italy. Of course, two weeks is never enough. But unlike my ancestors who took six months to do the Grand Tour, I have three weeks between terms at Art Center and Michael has a real job. I found it easy to get used to having four people wait on me at breakfast. I also now know I need someone who can iron the sheets everyday. It’s barbaric to make one’s own bowl of Panda Puffs and Go Lean cereal each morning.

Typically, most of my photographs are of typography or color palettes. This time, however, I also managed a whole series of on nude statues and ceilings. I’m usually the only one taking the close up photos of the type, but there was another woman on the Vatican garden tour doing the same thing. We eyed each other suspiciously.

In my travels of typographic photography in Italy, I discovered something right under my nose: Hermann Zapf was a real Italophile. Who knew? Palatino is named after Giambattista Palatino. Optima is based on Roman capitals. And then there’s Sistina (Sistine Chapel), Michelangelo, Medici Script, Zapfino, Marconi, Aldus (Venetian Aldus Manutius), and Vario.

Yes, I know this is super über geeky. It’s even geekier to be walking through ruins on the Palatine Hill and say out loud, “Oh my God! Palatino! of course!”

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Director of the Graphic Design Graduate Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for lynda.com/Linked In. He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.