Beauty on Newsprint

Eva: Rivista per la Donna Italiano (published by Edizioni Vitagliano) was a 1930s women’s magazine, stunning for its oversize tabloid format and velvet-like rotogravure printing. The hallmark of these issues from 1938, when Mussolini’s Fascist government had been in power for 16 years, was how little ideology they contained (compared to similar lifestyle magazines in Nazi Germany and other journals in Italy). The strikingly crisp full-page cover photographs, ever-so-slightly hand-tinted and printed in duotone to suggest more than merely two colors, is decidedly effective. The magazine also indicates that in 1938, Italy was stable and the war clouds that were beginning to gather were nothing to worry about.

Although these covers are not conceptually strong, they are stylistically quite sophisticated and arguably comparable to the French VU. The period when all major nations had rotogravure picture magazines was awash with great photography, catchy design, and sensual printing.

(See Tuesday’s Nightly Daily Heller on Otl Aicher’s Olympic posters.)


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For more on magazine design, check out our DesignCasts from DJ Stout (“Variations on a Rectangle: The Art of Magazine Design”) and Arem Dupless (“Redesigning a Legendary Brand”), available for download at MyDesignShop.com.

4 thoughts on “Beauty on Newsprint

  1. RWordplay

    Bellissima.
    I would add, apropos, of Mussolini’s government, it was never as brutal, dependent on terror, or ideologically insane, as the Nazi regime. Their rather stupid and, ultimately, suicidal foreign policy aside, Italian facism could be understood as a hard, even ruthless, experiment in Modernism.

  2. Nic Human

    Back in third year a lecturer told me that good design is making the most with limited time and money. It is remarkable what the designers of these covers could produced with limited colours, and the available printing process.

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