Italian Trademark Museum
 
 
 

The Olivetti logo

 
Camillo Olivetti
Adriano Olivetti
Marchio Olivetti - Bozzetto originale Camillo Olivetti / Original sketch by Camillo Olivetti
Marchio Olivetti
Marchio Olivetti
Olivetti - Scatola nastro dattilografico
Olivetti - Spedizione prodotti anni 20
Marchio Olivetti
Olivetti - Pagina pubblicitaria
Olivetti - Macchina da scrivere M20
Olivetti - Pagina pubblicitaria
Marchio Olivetti
Olivetti - Museo del Marchio Italiano
Marchio Olivetti
Olivetti - Manifesto Marcello Nizzoli
Marchio Olivetti
Marchio Olivetti
Olivetti - Manifesto Raymond Savignac
Olivetti - Manifesto Giovanni Pintori
Olivetti - Insegna Venezia
Olivetti - Negozio Venezia
Olivetti - Manifesto Giovanni Pintori
Marchio Olivetti
Olivetti - Marchio-manifesto Giovanni Pintori
Olivetti - Manifesto Giovanni Pintori
Olivetti - Manifesto Walter Ballmer
Olivetti - Manifesto Walter Ballmer
Marchio Olivetti - Museo del Marchio Italiano
Olivetti - Logotipo
Olivetti - Logotipo
Olivetti - Logotipo
Olivetti - Logotipo
Olivetti - Packaging ricambi
Marchio Olivetti - Museo del Marchio Italiano
Olivetti - Pagina pubblicitaria

The history of Olivetti's logo

The first Italian type-writer was designed by an engineer, Camillo Olivetti, who then started mass producing it in his factory at Ivrea in the Province of Turin in 1908. Designed by the firm's founder, the first trade-mark simply comprised the three letters "ICO", the acronym of "Ingegnere Camillo Olivetti". Adriano, the founder's son, took over the firm in 1938 and extended production to include electrical equipment. The firm grew rapidly and soon acquired a distinct style and identity that was unique in Italy and abroad. Painters and industrial and graphics designers among the most innovative of the time were called to Ivrea to contribute to a range of new projects and schemes of industrial organisation and to the creation of a corporate image. Among those who responded to the call were the painter Schawinski, the industrial designers Persico and and Nizzoli, the architects Figini and Pollini, the graphic designers Munari and Veronesi. Utmost attention to design and visual communication was very much the firm's guiding philosophy in all areas of activity. It is not surprising then that Olivetti himself considered the trade-mark to be a core element of the complex system of corporate identity. The importance ascribed to this elementary and frontline component has made for an outstanding graphics design legacy. The fact that Olivetti is cited as the first example of in the world of a coordinated image is cause for pride. To complete the "ICO" acronym, in 1923 it was decided that the firm needed to be endowed with an appropriate logotype. The first was once more designed by the firm's founder who chose lettering with a floral flair. The logotype was next designed again in 1934, this time by Xanti Schawinski (see Illy) who had trained at the Bauhaus and was a collaborator of the Boggeri studio. The use of lower case lettering throughout was an absolute novelty for the times. In 1947 the logotype underwent changes by Marcello Nizzoli who spaced out the letters and did away with the serifs. A trade-mark created in 1954 and familiarly known as the "Greek spiral" was also the work of this designer. A logotype featuring modified "dark black Etruscan" lettering was designed by Giovanni Pintori in 1960. The real novelty came in 1971 when yet another logotype appeared created by the Swiss designer Walter Ballmer. Essentially, what made it different was that it possessed solidity without being hard, a full body without being static. The only sharp character was the letter "v", while the dots on the letters "i" had rounded corners at the top and square ones at the bottom and were set above a rod with similar features but the other way around. Rounded angles express ease and when they are portrayed on chunky characters they also suggest composed, un-flurried strength.