GIRO FUTURISMO - The Cycling Grand Tours and the mark of a Nation

The three great multi-stage cycle races – the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España are rooted into the national consciousness of each country. It helps if you have the stunning landscapes and terrain of each of those three beautiful countries to host 21 days of demanding cycling, but there’s also something about the identities of each nation that was the stimulus to look for a way of producing a set of posters that in some way reflected either great design or iconic imagery that was part of the psyche of each nation. Here’s how they came into print: -


The irony behind this design is that it actually takes its influence from two iconic references. The original poster, which provided the influence for our own, was from the Italian designer Fortunato Depero. Depero was a member of the Italian Futurist art movement. Although he studied as a fine artist he became successful as a commercial artist and was the mainstay of designing for several Futurist exhibition posters. One of these was the ‘Futurismo Trentino’ exposition – in which, for this design, the upper and lower elements of the linear design formed the ‘F’ and the ‘T’ for Futurismo Trentino.


Fast forward 49 years and the design proved to be a significant influence on graphic designer Peter Saville who utilised the design in producing the album cover art for Manchester band New Order’s first album ‘Movement’


Whilst in some ways at first glance it appears to be rampant plagiarism, Saville’s subtlety and cleverness on closer inspection, comes to the fore. New Order were part of the Factory Records business – who, whether it was record release, gig or event, itemised everything with the abbreviation of Factory ‘FAC – followed by the numeric reference. Thus, in this instance ‘Fac50’ – was to be the new album release. Saville retained the upper ‘F’ of Depero’s poster to reflect ‘Factory’ but shunted the drop of the ‘T’ on the original, to the left and became the Roman numeral for 50 ‘L’.


So, given the two pronged iconic status of the design we created the ‘Giro Futurismo’ poster, primarily retaining the typographic style for the text and then working the lines and dots in such a way that upper lines and dots represented the ‘G’ of Giro and the lower, literally a lower case ‘I’ for Italia. The colouring reflected the sentiment of the phrase La gara per la maglia rosa - 'The race for the pink jersey'. The colouring of the ‘dots’ represent the Italian flag, which are part of the bike symbol together with the origination date of the race in 1909.

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