The Daily Heller: Warm Ice Cream Memories of Milton

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As my colleague Beth Kleber detailed in her Glaser Nobody Knows column, in 1981–82, Milton Glaser redesigned the logo for Sammontana, the popular Italian ice cream company based in Empoli, Italy. Recently, Italian designer Claudia Neri was asked by Sammontana’s charismatic president, Marco Bagnoli, and head of marketing, Sibilla Bagnoli, to design a publication to pay tribute to Glaser.

"Sammontana wanted to highlight this early and successful collaboration," Neri explains. "At that time, Sammontana was a regional brand, while Milton Glaser had already achieved global fame."

The logo dates back to the pre-internet era, a time when communication happened by fax and telephone. So as Neri notes, "It took foresight on Sammontana’s side to choose to work with a foreign designer living several time zones away. And for Glaser to accept the challenge of working for what was a local brand on the other side of the Atlantic."

Neri's idea for the tribute project was that "it should be beautiful and lighthearted. Something as playful and innovative as Milton Glaser’s own work, and as good and tasty as Italian ice cream."

To do that, she decided to utilize the exuberant, color-rich visual language of the era, the "carefree, optimistic early 1980s." So, together with her assistant Elisa Stagnoli, "we treated ourselves to a crash course on the work Glaser did those years, as well as other trendsetting artists and designers such as Elio Fiorucci, Warhol, Lichtenstein and other pop artists."

All design and production choices were guided by what Neri calls a "pleasure principle: create something that would evoke the magical combination of fun, irony and iconic design. Utterly enjoyable, just like good design and ice cream."

The result: a tasty treat for Glaser's contribution to Sammontana's product.