Ciao, Bella – IL Magazine Writes the Book on Visual Design

When does design elevate from the ordinary to the sublime?

For us, it’s when the design itself is able to convey the meaning of the content without even needing words. We posted a great example of this yesterday with April’s “Water” issue of Popular Science. Today, we share AIGA’s post about an Italian magazine that is so well done you don’t have to read a word of Italian to appreciate it.

“IL: Intelligence in Lifestyle is the best contemporary magazine not available at your cool local magazine shop,” writes Ruth Jamieson in EyeOnDesign. “Published monthly with Italian daily newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, IL is a modern classic known for its experimental editorial concepts, groundbreaking infographics, and bold use of typography, photography, and illustration. It’s so good it’s almost worth learning Italian for—‘almost’ because you don’t really need to read it to appreciate it.”

The much-awarded title has been compared to a “Monocle on steroids” with its strong visual design, and part of its appeal is its elusiveness. Printed as a monthly insert to a financial newspaper, copies are notoriously limited.

“One must cultivate friendships with Italians, or plan holidays to the lakes to coincide with publication,” Jamieson notes.

Fortunately, there’s another way to soak in all the visual goodness that doesn’t involve passports and resort wear; you can buy the book.

Jamieson describes it as “luscious,” and it looks like an apt description. The book provides an in-depth look at the making of IL, including “behind-the-scenes photography of the IL editorial room paired and intimate essays from editor-in-chief Christian Rocca and art director Francesco Franchi. After Rocca explores the fall and rise of print, Franchi explains the inner workings of the magazine, a well-oiled creative studio where editors and graphic designers work together in harmony.”

A book like this is pure design gold, sharing the real-life process of putting these strong visual designs together to form a cohesive whole. For any designer looking to master the art of visual design, this will be a treasured volume to own.