The Signs of Italy: Grafica della Strada

Louise Fili's decades-strong obsession with the country's diverse typography compiled in a fascinating photo book

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It’s something of a rarity for a designer with such a storied career as NYC-based Louise Fili to trace the foundations of her career back to one single memory. The 2014 AIGA Medal-winner and self-described Italophile’s career in book design and food packaging all started on a trip to Italy at age 16 when Fili became transfixed by a billboard for Baci Perugina chocolates. Over the past three decades, Fili has documented her favorite signs throughout Italy, culminating in the new hardcover photography tome, “Grafica della Strada.”

Spanning 264 pages, the diverse signage ranges from posh hotels to corner stores, capturing the charismatic typefaces that bridge classical and modern. One of the most notable aspects of signage featured is the wide array of mediums and materials employed. Everything from neon, ceramics, carved wood, marble and brass to enamel and more are intricately used in the work collected throughout the country. Fili even visited the last gold leaf sign-maker living in Rome—a testament to the fading craft.


Many of the signs featured in “Grafica della Strada” no longer adorn the shops and restaurants they once did, making the publication a treasure for all—especially those seeking inspiration in typeface and art direction. With a wide release scheduled for 2 September 2014, “Grafica della Strada” is currently available for pre-order from Amazon for $29. Check out the slideshow for a few of our favorites.

Images by Cool Hunting