MGF Sans by Fabrizio Falcone
Designed for the first edition of Milano Graphic Festival, this contemporary sans echoes the sparkling Milan of the booming 1960s and the rigour of the Swiss style
MGF: the Milanese cut
MGF is the custom face of Milano Graphic Festival, the first widespread event of graphic design, illustration and visual cultures held in Milan, 25–27 March 2022.
Designer Fabrizio Falcone – along with festival director Francesco Dondina – was looking for a display face evoking the international achievement of the Swiss Style and the golden age of Milanese graphic design. The result is MGF, a display face somehow reminiscent of the 1960s Milan design scene and then celebrating the shapes of the most representative typeface of those years, Helvetica and its Italian would-be competitor Nebiolo’s Forma, conceived and designed by Aldo Novarese and ‘The Milanese Dream Team’.
A contemporary geometric grotesque
The main feature of MGF is its combination of the geometric and Grotesque sanserif styles: ‘We developed a grotesque with a clear geometric structure, as can be seen in the alternates of a i, t, l and in the squared curves of letters such as f or j. These design decisions allowed for a contemporary output playing with the main features of Swiss typography: big x-height, tight spacing, wide capitals of uniform width, etc.’
MGF’s very basic character set includes 16 directional arrow glyphs (8 outside the circle, 8 inside the circle) that recall similar details of Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda’s design for the New York subway, and that today, says Falcone, ‘look so much like a smiling emoji’.
Milano Graphic Festival
Milano Graphic Festival intends to be a catalyst for ideas and relations surrounding the world of visual communication. Its mission is to generate awareness and exchange, to shed light on an art that is all-encompassing and also to emphasise its fundamental role in the context of urban regeneration and its overall impact on citizen wellbeing.
Starting from a much needed reflection on the role and responsibilities of visual design, but always looking at its history, the mission of MGF – intended as both the festival and the typeface – is to build bridges and synergies between different worlds, always promoting inclusivity.
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