Olivetti: Innovation & Identity

Denver Art Museum showcases Olivetti’s historic role in advertising design.

According to the show’s curator, Darrin Alfred: “The Olivetti tradition of excellence in design stems from the corporate style and business management principles introduced chiefly by Adriano Olivetti, the son of the company’s founder.

“Prior to the Second World War there had been few attempts to impose an integrated design scheme on all aspects of any company. Adriano’s preoccupation with design developed into a comprehensive corporate philosophy, which embraced everything from the shape of a space bar to the color scheme for an advertising poster, thus distinguishing Olivetti’s products from those of other companies during the post-war era.”

Giovanni Pintori, 1949

“However, Olivetti was not alone. After the war, corporations such as Braun in Germany, Bang & Olufsen in Denmark and IBM in the United States also adapted the policy of “good design is good business” and hired influential designers to create an inventive image for their companies, from their products and showrooms to everyday graphics. Design was seen as a major way to shape a reputation for quality and reliability. This approach ensured their commercial and critical success as well as a place in design history.”

(More here on Pintori; interview excerpt via PBS Art Beat)