Gene Federico

January 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Gene Federico is a graphic designer and advertising director who had an important role in introducing a style of typography to American advertising. With what he did typography became an important element in American Advertising instead of being a supportive element.

He was one of the founders of Lord, Geller, Federico, Einstein Inc., a New York advertising agency in year 1967. Later on he worked as its creative director, vice president and vice chairman. He was recognized for the groundbreaking combination of type and image. He used text as part of the picture to create visual metaphors. This was the trademark of American advertising’s ”Creative Revolution” in the late 50’s and 60’s.

In the late 30’s he was first a student in the secondary graphics group called the Art Squad at Abraham Lincoln High School. Later on he became a member of the 1939 graduating class at Pratt Institute, both in Brooklyn. In these times the clever use of typographic elements in mass advertisements did not exist.

In America, at most agencies, cookie-cutter layouts were used in an unimaginative way. The art directors did not add creative elements to typographic elements. On the other hand in Europe, commercial artists’ posters of the same period were outstandingly artful and distinctly individual. However in America, designers’ names were rarely mentioned in agencies.

The European leaders, such as A. M. Cassandre and Lucian Bernhard, influenced Frederico and he finally became one of the contemporary advertising designers who developed a noticeably modernist approach to graphic design. Important elements of his designs were clean layout, asymmetrical composition and sans-serif typefaces, and these elements were combined with the union of word and picture. He used headlines to carry visual messages and used type to show sounds on the printed page.

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