Ferrovienord and Fnm campaign begins to enhance historical and cultural heritage

“Life in motion since 1877”: the rediscovery of Carlo Dradi’s posters

An important piece of the historical and cultural heritage of Lombardy to be discovered and rediscovered and to be enhanced in its many facets. Ferrovienord and Fnm presented today at the Adi Design Museum the campaign “Life in motion since 1877”, thanks to which the advertising posters created by Carlo Dradi between the 40s and 50s for the Ferrovie Nord Milano company. A selection of 15 works was exhibited to the public today. Today’s presentation therefore kicks off a poster campaign which will start on 12 February from the Ferrovienord station in Milan Cadorna and will progressively affect all the stations on the network. The iconic strength of Carlo Dradi’s historic posters, present in the historical archive of Ferrovienord, tell well the long evolution of the company and the impact it has had and continues to have on the development of the Lombardy area. The campaign will open with a poster that contains a preview of some posters followed by 15 subjects which will then be exhibited individually. The 15 posters chosen are: “Escape the mists”, “Autumn on the lakes”, “Go! Towards pure air”, “Holidays on the lakes”, “Laveno – electric traction”, “Fishermen, Ticino awaits you”, “Trips on the lakes”, “Come to S. Primo”, “Valassina”, “In 45 minutes from Milan – Lake Como”, “Spring”, “Snow at Campo dei Fiori”, “Sciovia del S. Primo”, “Varese” and “Spring walks”. Each poster will contain a QR Code that links to the Ferrovienord virtual museum (https://museo.ferrovienord.it).

Speakers at the opening this morning were Andrea Gibelli, president of FNM, Marco Piuri, general director of FNM and CEO of Trenord, Fulvio Caradonna, president of Ferrovienord, Claudia Maria Terzi, councilor for Infrastructure and Public Works of the Lombardy Region, Franco Lucente, councilor for Transport and Sustainable Mobility of the Lombardy Region, Emanuele Dradi, son of Carlo Dradi, Matteo Dradi and Maddalena Dradi, grandchildren of Carlo Dradi, Gaetano Grizzanti, of the Campo Grafico association, Anty Pansera, design historian and critic, Pablo Rossi, curator of the historical archive Attilio Rossi and Alberto Conforti, professor at the University of Parma. Andrea Cancellato, director of the ADI Design Museum, will do the honors.

The collaboration between Ferrovie Nord Milano and Carlo Dradi developed in the years from 1948 to 1957, during which around twenty posters were created. The task entrusted to Dradi was to enhance the image of the company and encourage the use of the train to reach the tourist locations in Lombardy. The assignment is decisive for Dradi because it marks the beginning of his activity in the signage field. For the creation of the advertising posters, he decided to adopt a simple and clear language, intended for a large audience but which could however make the image of the Ferrovie Nord Milano recognisable. To do this, he recovers the narrative language of the poster, in particular that of the tourist poster developed in the 1930s especially in Switzerland. From here he takes not only the pictorial technique but also a series of rhetorical motifs such as the sun, the snow, the flowers that characterize tourist locations. These elements are exalted so much that they become real “symbols”.

He was born in 1908 in Milan, where he died in 1982. He began working as a graphic designer in 1932. He was among the founders of “Campo Grafico” (1933) and was one of the first innovators of Italian graphic aesthetics. In 1933 the Milan Triennale awarded him the Grand Diploma of Honour. From 1940 to 1942 he worked as a graphics teacher at the Higher School of Applied Arts of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan and from 1946 at the Book School of Milan. From 1946 to 1950 he was director of “Linea Grafica”. Since 1953 he has directed the School of Advertising Art at the ENALC in Milan and since 1957 also the graphics section of the Paolo Toschi State Institute in Parma.

Awards and recognitions: 1933: Grand Diploma of Honor from the Milan Triennale. 1952: Merano, first prize in the national competition for the Supercortemaggiore brand. 1952: Rome, first prize in the ENIT national competition for the “Marine d’Italia” poster 1953: second prize in the national competition for the “Agnano Lottery” poster 1955: Milan, gold medal for the Modern Office in the national competition for the best sales letter. 1956: Milan, Lorilleux prize for graphic merit for the year 1956. 1956: Milan, “La Giarrettiera” prize awarded by the Italian Association of Advertising Artists (AIAP). 1960: Rome, first prize in the national competition for the World Savings Day sign. 1963: Rome, first prize in the national competition for the “ITALIA” poster organized by ENIT


Personal and collective exhibitions: 1933, 1936, 1946 and 19551 Milan Triennale; 1937 Paris International Exhibition; 1936 Grafa, Basel; 1949 Stockholm; 1951 Center for Graphic Studies, Milan; 1951 International Advertising Congress, London; 1952 L’Araldo, Milan; 1956 National Advertising Artists Exhibition, Palazzo della Permanente, Milan; 1959 Former Villa Reale, Milan.

Bibliography: “Gebrauchsgraphik”, Berlin, January 1934. “L’ ufficio Moderno, La Pubblicità”, Milan, November 1939 – July 1950. “Druck und Werbekunst”, Leipzig, 1940. “Bodoni”, Parma, 1940. “Typographische Monatsblätter ” Bern, August – September 1942. “Graficas”, Madrid, November 1948 – September 1951. “Advertising suggestion”, Milan, September 1950 – October 1951. “Bulletin of the Center for Graphic Studies”, Milan, June 1951. “Linea Grafica “, Milan, May – June 1951. “Publimondial”, n. 32, Paris, December 1951. “Penrose Annual”, London, 1953. The history of the Press by P. Trevisani, Ed. Raggio, Rome 1954. “Advertising in Italy”, 1954, 1957, 1962. “Fifty years of Advertising in Italy”, 1954. “Poster Annual”, Zurich, 1954. “Bollettino delle FIP”, Milan, 1956. SIPRA Newsletter, Turin 1956 “Gazzetta di Parma”, 24 October 1960. Literary Almanac, Bompiani, 1963. Poliedro, Milan, 1963.

“Another initiative that underlines how stations can be spaces that tell stories and host culture – says Andrea Gibelli, president of Fnm. – Among other activities, last October the Milan Cadorna station hosted some works of art created by Naba students. This time, through the exhibition of Carlo Dradi’s historical posters, a part of the Ferrovienord archive is available to anyone, between one trip and another, who wants to take time to enjoy of a little beauty.” “Today’s presentation fits perfectly into the process of valorising the historical heritage that we began last year with the online launch of the Ferrovienord virtual museum – underlines Fulvio Caradonna, president of Ferrovienord. – Our history belongs to Lombardy, and is a legacy of everyone. For a month now, in 9 Ferrovienord stations it has been possible, through a QR Code, to access the history that these places preserve. Soon Carlo Dradi’s posters will also be visible to anyone passing through our stations, a journey through time that is be more current than ever”.