Neoclassical and Pop

By Labirinto della Masone

Graduated as a geologist, Franco Maria Ricci became graphic designer by vocation. Since his first projects, Franco Maria Ricci has been able to combine creativity and rigour, simplicity and magnificence in every project he designed.

Pages of Bodoni's Typographical Manual (1818) by Giambattista BodoniLabirinto della Masone

Neoclassical balances…

Giambattista Bodoni is essential to reconstruct Franco Maria Ricci visual culture. The great printer, with his repertoire of sharp, harmonious and mathematically studied forms, has deeply influenced the sophisticated, but at the same time concise, taste that Ricci was to give to his graphic works.

Advertising designed for the firm "Cucine SCIC" (1973) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

… and Pop icons

The effective simplicity of the image (or the font) is a distinctive element that Ricci captured both from Bodoni's work and the figurative art-scene of the 1960s: the result is a perfect combination between the purity of form, almost Renaissance style, and the playful spirit of Pop Art.

Manifesto for the anniversaries of the Resistance in Parma and the Republic (1966) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

Among Ricci's first customers were local authorities that commissioned him logos and billboards. To be noted the use of symbols and color in full Pop-Art style.

Copertina consuntivo di bilancio dell'Amministrazione Provinciale (1964) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

Ricci was also influenced by Optical Art. The contemporary seeks a synthesis with the Classic, here represented by a hand, deduced from a nineteenth-century print.

Copertina de "Il Golem" di G.Meyrink per la collana Bompiani "Il Pesanervi" (1966) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

The coexistence of these two souls can be found in the covers commissioned to Ricci by Valentino Bompiani for the series “Il Pesanervi”. Ancient illustrations are combined with an ambiguous cyclops' face, which becomes the structural element of the cover.

Logomark of the firm "Cucine SCIC" (1966) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

SCIC Identity

Among Franco Maria Ricci's most famous works as a graphic designer were the projects for SCIC, a Parma-based manufacturer of modular kitchens, whose graphic concept was edited by Ricci. The design of the logo is dated 1966: simple, compact and modern, it is an equilateral hexagon divided into six triangles, meant to suggest both the modularity and the flower-shape.

Advertising designed for the firm "Cucine SCIC" (1973) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

The concept of the first promotional launches (1966) is simple and highly effective: Ricci taps into the world of kitchen, cutting in shapes objects, such as knives or forks, and placing them as the letters of the alphabet.

Logo cucine ScicLabirinto della Masone

The unity of the page is expressed by the multiplicity of elements, paired with short texts related to the female world (amusing as of today, but specifically targeted at the time).

Cover design for a price list of the firm "Cucine SCIC" (1973) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

Some of the logos designed by Franco Maria Ricci (XX secolo) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

Logo rules

Through time, countless clients asked Franco Maria Ricci to design their brand. The principle behind his creative process has always been the same: first of all, a logo had to explain immediately, directly and at a first glance what it represented.

A brand has to be concise, essential and unitary to become a sign of something.

on the left: Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, Turin, 1969
on the right: Nieman Marcus, Dallas, 1968

on the left: Artiere, Parma, 1972
on the right: Banca Steinhauslin, Florence, 1979

Logomark of the bank "Cassa di Risparmio di Parma e Piacenza" (1978) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

Among the most successful logos appears that of the former Cassa di Risparmio di Parma: a stylized beehive which recalls bees, a symbol of industriousness and saving, but also the domes which characterize Parma's skyline.

Advertising designed for the firm "SMEG" (XX secolo) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

For the Smeg brand, Ricci adopted a modular repetition of circles arranged in two staggered rows: the symbol either refers to the lights of home appliances made by the company, the hobs or the letter “S” of the name.

Some of the logos designed by Franco Maria Ricci (XX secolo) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

Among the last works, the logo of Festival Verdi di Parma clearly expresses the concepts of symbolic hypotyposis. A simple and refined bodonian “V”, nestled like a note on the music staff.

As for the logo (no longer in use) of Poste Italiane, few are the means that can effectively express the idea of fastness the way parallel lines of decreasing length do.

Flight tickets designed for Alitalia (1989-2003) by Franco Maria RicciLabirinto della Masone

Transfiguration to Black

For the design of Alitalia plane tickets and flight schedules, Franco Maria Ricci combines a rigorous use of white and black with details of Italian masterpieces. Since they are objects intended for travel, they are imagined as a vehicle to communicate to the world that “Italy is Art”.

Black, a very elegant color, allows us to appreciate even more the details and colors of isolated images.

Covers of the art magazine FMR (1982-2003) by Franco Maria Ricci EditoreLabirinto della Masone

The graphic layout was inspired by the art magazine FMR, one of the most important protagonists of another fundamental undertaking by Franco Maria Ricci, the publishing one.

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