Exploring the gender gap through Italian history of art and book design

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Divided into three parts, the publication documents the main report carried out by Censis, followed by a section titled Bellezze d’Italia, meaning beauties of Italy. This second part importantly contains “reworkings of pictorial images to represent the evolution of man-woman relationships and the perception of femininity over the centuries,” explains Luca. And finally, the third section the Atlas of Misogyny takes on the form of an actual atlas, capturing zenith photography at its height and documenting the information in the style of old maps.

Each section possesses a distinct design to reflect the variety of content. With different coloured paper and colour schemes, “we wanted it to be perceived as three different moments of the same project,” adds Luca. “Just like how there are three different rooms in an exhibition.” Similar to how Alessandro’s work highlights the gender gap through subtle indications that point to deep-rooted aspects of society, akin to the photographer, Tomo Tomo treated the publication’s design in a non-obvious way.

Through an intricate design system gently hinting to the subject at hand, Luca and Davide stimulate the reader’s curiosity with unusual design solutions. For instance, in the section Bellezze d’Italia, the designers draw inspiration from a universal symbol of female iconography, early Renaissance paintings of the Italian Madonna, and utilise the gold-bronze colour in their designs. Contrastingly, the designers use the colour not in a suggestion of virginal purity, but in the background of a rape scene, subverting the subconscious representations of the female role in society through the colour gold – a historically poignant colour always used in a particular context. Then offsetting such implications with a “plain” typeface, the designers chose Radim Pesko’s Union to inject the fact-heavy content with the contemporary. “Union is a kind of neutral typeface,” Luca finally goes on to say, “it works very well both in a small and display size.” He concludes that the thoughtful design is “perfect for this kind of project.”

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