Italy’s former finance minister Giulio Tremonti has just published a book on the economic crisis. The book is called “Uscita di Sicurezza”, emergency exit. Tremonti has been finance minister in (at least, I can’t remember exactly, Freud will tell you why) two Silvio Berlusconi’s governments, and is in fact responsible for the actual crisis not only of Italian finances, but above all of huge cuts on welfare and education. In the past four years he had an influence on the government similar to that of French ministres des Finances during the eighteenth century (and just before the Revolution).

As soon as I spotted the cover of his book, I thought that whomever designed the cover is a) a genius or b) an incompetent or c) a fascist.

As my master would say, font types have a specific force, and can help (or mislead) the comprehension of the text. So if you’re designing the cover for a book on the eighteenth century Italian culture, is better if you use a coeval fontface such as that designed by Giambattista Bodoni. But if the book is about the 20th century avant-garde, A Bodonian font will confuse and mislead the reader (and buyer). Much better to use a character designed by Herbert Bayer such as the Architype Bayer.

So why the designer would be a genius, or a fascist, or an incompetent? Because fonts bring also history with them. And if you have even a slight visual memory of something related to Fascism, you will immediately link Tremonti’s book to a poster like this. Now, if the designer wanted to criticise Tremonti, he’s a genius, because he did it picking up the right (wrong) fontface. If he’s not, he’s either a fascist or an incompetent. incompetency can be subtle, because he can also claim the font was used before Fascism (I suppose you can find similar fontfaces in art deco). But, even if that is true, it is also true that you should always consider the collective (visual) memory you’re dealing with. However, the final message is that Tremonti is a fascist. And as we were talking about incompetent people, the topic seems to fit perfectly in all perspectives.