GreenItaly. I Quaderni di Symbola

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Symbola is a “foundation for Italian quality” that champions an economic concept they refer to as the”soft economy”; a model of quality-oriented development in which traditions and territories meet with innovation, research, culture and design. Fondazione Symbola promotes competitiveness, productivity and sociality, enhancement of human capital, and respect for the environment.

In 2016 Fondazione Symbola got in touch asking us to design one of their most important annual publications: the annual report, GreenItaly. Published in collaboration with Unioncamere, GreenItaly focuses on the state of the green economy in Italy: from the conversion of traditional Italian industries to greener practices, through to the discussion of renewable energies. It is one of the main goals of the report to demonstrate that models of sustainability and innovation make companies more competitive and cohesive – especially when combined with relevant know-how, and an attention to recycling, the environment and health.

However, as graphic designers, it was immediately evident to us that the theme and the language of the report would likely make it rather boring and impenetrable for most readers. Consequently our primary objective was to reduce the complexity of information in favor of readability, while at the same time maintaining scientific rigor in the presentation of data.

Our intention, then, was to make this publication more accessible and understandable for ordinary people, while also permitting those with a more profound interest in the themes it discusses to dig deeper into areas of more specialized content if they so wish. In order to achieve this we chose a grotesque font, helping to give the report a feeling of greater authority and precision. Additionally, by employing a typographical hierarchy, we were able to provide the publication with a kind of rhythm: small type for essays; larger type for the preface; and the biggest for excerpts from the essays. In this way the reader quickly gains a general overview of the report’s main content.

Much of the design process consisted of reworking complex data into more easily understandable infographics, charts and tables. We made information clearer by removing any lines or icons that served a merely decorative purpose, stripping everything back to the fundamentals.

Additionally, we reduced the number of colors down to just two Pantones: a full green and a lighter one. In this way we brought the publication back round to its original purpose: the clear and simple communication of information.

Finally, it goes without saying that the entire report was printed on recycled paper.

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