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  • Interview

Visual identity

Leonardo Sonnoli, new graphic designer of Zanotta, reveals how he created the new company logo: a sign that interprets the path between design evolution and productive innovation at its best. While opening to new scenarios and communication tools.

Communicating with an original style without following trends, it means for Zanotta finding tools and ways that suit their time, the audience life-style and the product process. A proof of that is the new brand image set in 2015 and launched at the 54th Salone del Mobile: a coordinated image that turns around the new logo designed by Leonardo Sonnoli, who also conceived the catalogue concept with the latest collection and of the book “Design: 101 stories Zanotta” written by Beppe Finessi (Silvana Editoriale). «My work starts in a moment of great renewal, yet following the thread of continuity», Sonnoli affirms. The multidisciplinary experience of the graphic designer from Trieste (1962) matched the wide visual and cultural universe of the company: he worked for the Venice Biennial, the Centre Pompidou, the New York Times; he teaches at university, some of his works are shown at famous international museums, he was awarded with one Compass d’Oro in 2011 (www.sonnoli.it). The company based in Nova Milanese faced the change this year, while keeping its cultural and business vocation and it does so establishing with its trusted collaborators an intense and creative relationship. So it happened in 1958, when Mario Scheichenbauer – architect and designer – started working with Aurelio Zanotta, designing chairs and sofas and conceiving the first graphic project and the first trademark for “Zanotta Poltrone” at that time. The lance-shaped “Z” of the logo was revised by the new art director Michele Provinciali in 1966, in a crucial moment for the company: the first mono-brand store opened in Monza and soon the happy season of ground-breaking products like Sacco and Throw-Away would have started. In 1968, when the company moved to the new premises designed by Piero Cosulich, the Zanotta “single trademark” was created by Marcello Minale: a geometrical shape with tridimensional effect and triangle design, featuring the new logo in small italic letters below. Other graphic proposals by Max Huber (1986) and by the Adart Studio (1988, whose logo was used for some years) followed later. Meanwhile both the graphics and photographic images evolved for the product and lifestyle catalogues, successful videos were made and memorable exhibitions were set up, important monographs were written, the website was created and, ten years ago, the online newsletter Happenings. «Both for the logo and the whole Zanotta’s image, you cannot disregard an extraordinary past, but indeed that past indicates the way to go», Leonardo Sonnoli asserts. «The aim of the logotype re-design was keeping some of its peculiarities added over the years, like the writing in small letters and in cursive, while attempting to make its shape less connected with style that reminds a certain historical period. The font chosen for the new logo, and for the corporate image as well, is New Rail designed by Henrik Kubel and Margaret Calvert (historical designer of the English road signs); the letter “a” in cursive and the double “t” tied together were designed on purpose». How do you explain the graphic “sign” of the new logo, i.e. “two dots” at the end? «For its cursive shape, the logo is not lapidary and marks ideally the company’ attitude to open and project itself into the future; it is followed by “two dots” that prelude a continuation, a path, a demonstration. I also like figuring an homage to Aurelio Zanotta, who never missed to underline two strong characteristics of his company: the profit and the culture».

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