The Doyald Young Reading Room at San Diego City College Graphic Design is excited to acquire an exact copy of Fortunato Depero’s 1927 masterpiece of graphic design and bookmaking—Depero Futurista

Futurist Fortunato Depero //1922

Check out this incredible treasure in our reading room AH406. This unique and historical book was a collaborative effort between the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York, the Mart, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy, and Designers & Books. This incredible, hailed 2017 edition book is sold out and has 240 pages that are bound with bolts that bind that can be removed to display the pages as posters.


The Bolted Book Facsimile from Designers & Books on Vimeo.


Depero was a multidisciplinary practitioner. As an artist, designer, and maker he was involved in painting, sculpture, architecture, fashion, graphic design, interior design, product design, set design, advertising, and magazine publishing. He pioneered the idea of artist as “cultural entrepreneur” generations before that term came into use.

Depero was an activist. He was co-author of the Futurist manifesto “The Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe.”

Depero combined high and low art, breaking down barriers between the fine arts, commercial arts, and pop culture.

Depero understood and encouraged the active practice of self-promotion by artists.

Depero was the only Futurist to live and work in the United States for a sustained period. Depero Futurista demonstrates his diverse art and design talents as well as his sophisticated understanding of branding, marketing, and self-promotion.

Depero embraced writing in all forms—from essays and books to poetry and plays. Not only did he write and design Depero Futurista, he also wrote eight other books, including his autobiography, So I Think, So I Paint.

In concept and execution, Depero Futurista is regarded as the first modern-day artist’s book and an avant-garde “book as object” masterpiece.



Fortunato Depero was born in Fondo, Italy in 1892. He went to school in Rovereto, Italy where he learned applied arts techniques. He apprenticed with a marble worker to promote his own artistic growth, then in 1913, was inspired by a futurist paper. Although he began his work as a fine artist he eventually became the most famous futurist graphic designer.

Futurism rejected things from the past, despised museums and galleries as being relics from history. They embraced onomatopoeia and advocated for it by introducing sound into their poetry and visual compositions. Collections of letters could represent sounds. In it’s abstract form the wanted to capture the internal motions of the soul.

They adored the machine, speed, power and used geometric elements and advertising to spread their ideas. He worked with painter Giacomo Bella, and created a manifesto. The bolted book Depero Futurista, Depero introduced fresh, futurist ad design styles. The design of the book was uses black and white geometric shapes in a paper cut-out style. Futurists wanted design to be like a toy and to compel both adults and children and the simple images from this book were easy to reproduce in newspapers or posters to spread the word. You could unbolt the book and easily hang a page up. After the books release,  Depero moved on to New York creating advertising, painting and doing theatrical design.  At this time he created covers for magazines like Vanity Fair, but he remained driven to continue to promote Futurism.

Depero also designed the famous bottle for Campari Soda in 1932 and it is still in use today.

He died at 68 due to diabetes but his amazing works can still be found in many venues and museums, especially in Italy. Get into the Young Reading Room and check out the Bolted Book at San Diego City College.

To learn more about FUTURISM and other fine art movements like CUBISM, DADA, SURREALISM and EXPRESSIONISM take Graphic Design History 118 at San Diego City College. You won’t be memorizing dates or names but will learn all about style and how it can be jet-fuel for your own creative work. The class is offered both on campus and online in Spring and Fall and you can enroll in the Graphic Design History course online this Summer 2018.