Selected works of Franco Maria Ricci, 1966
Masaru Katzumie writes about Franco M. Ricci for Graphic Design 25
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Even for a graphic designer who is blessed with opportnities for getting on in the world, Franco Maria Ricci's debut may be rather premature. He was born in Parma in Italy, 1937, where he studied the classics at Liceo Romagnoci. Then he made a speciality of geology at the University of Parma and, after graduating from the university, he went to Turkey and engaged, as a field geologist, in the exploration for a vein of petroleum. However, the presence of Hittite antiquities there had his innate interest in art reawakened, causing him to return to Italy, with a firm determination on a fresh start.
He opened a design studio and began, as an art director, to work hard in different fields of graphic design. He was more interested in the cultural aspects of graphic design rather than its commercial aspects. So many of his works are posters for exhibition and works in the field of editorial design.
Parma where G. B. Bodoni, one of the forerunners of modern typography once opened his factory, was a center of bibliophil culture in Europe during the years from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. Ricci was much influenced by Bodoni. The refined style of penmanship and ornament invented by Bodoni can be found to have been applied to much of Ricci’s works, and forms the basis of his style.
His admiration for Bodoni urged him to publish Bodoni's "Typographical Manual" the same as its original edition. He made efforts for years and in the fall of 1965 succeeded in the publication of the three volumes which aroused international acclaim. With this success he gained confidence. He established Franco Maria Ricci editore and published a series entitled "Top Symbols and Trademarks of the World" and other books of art.
The precedent of a graphic designer who, exerting his technical skill, attained a position of his own in the publishing field set by Robert Delpire of Paris and Erik Nitche of New York. Ricci is expected to follow in the footsteps of these predecessors, and obtain great success. He is now a member of A.D.I. and of the A.I.G.A., and of the Bibliographical Society of London, and also a general secretary of Centro di Bodoniano newly established in Bibliodeca Palatina.
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