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The Futurist Movement and its Impact on Book Design

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  1. Introduction
  2. Italian futurism
  3. Italian futurist books
  4. Russian futurism
  5. Russian futurist books
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

Futurism (1909-1944), which actually owes its inception to poetry, was the first major art movement of the 20th century. It encompassed not only nearly every form of creative expression, including practical arts like architecture, advertising, and product design. Interestingly, there were two very separate and very different Futurist movements during roughly the same time period, one in Italy and one in Russia, though the Russian Futurists are often overlooked because the Italian movement was much more heavily publicized. Though the cores of both movements were relatively short-lived, Futurism left lasting effects on many forms of art and design, particularly book design and typography.

[...] Caroline Tisdall and Angelo Bozzolla, authors of the book Futurism, claim that ?almost every twentieth century attempt to release language from traditional rules and restrictions has a precedent somewhere in Futurism? (qtd. in Bartram 22). Unfortunately, the focus of the mainstream contemporary book is not to eschew the rules, but to adhere to them. For this reason, most books published today do not display much influence from the Futurists. Works Cited Bartram, Alan. Futurist Typography and the Liberated Text. New Haven: Yale UP Blackwell, Lewis. [...]

[...] In order to restore primordial purity and immediacy? that the book had lost in the machine age, the Futurists began making homemade ?anti-books? out of inexpensive (and often unusual) materials and bound with glue or clumsy stitching 47). The Russians Futurists attempted to completely remove all forms of new technology from their book production process, often going so far as to have the author handwrite the whole book rather than use any sort of typesetting. The handwriting actually served a dual purpose; in addition to allowing a more personal production process, it made the books even more personal and expressive. [...]

[...] Its influence can be seen not only in later art movements, such as Dadaism and de Stijl (from the Italian movement) and Suprematism and Constructivism (from the Russian movement), but also in twentieth century design as a whole, especially book design and typography. Bartram even writes that the Italian Futurist books are the ?source of all the typographic freedoms which have been developed since about 1920? Designers of contemporary collections of concrete poems are still heavily influenced by the Italians' parole in libertà and New Typography. [...]

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