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Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili Hardcover – September 5, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

" When it comes to food, you probably don't know Louise Fili's name but you may very well recognize her work. If you've ever dined at The Mermaid Inn, Back Forty, or Artisanal in New York City, eaten Tate's Bake Shop's cookies, spread some of American Spoon's jam on bread, or poured a glass of Bartlett Winery's wild blueberry wine, you've seen Fili's designs... Graphic designers are sure to appreciate this book--not only for Fili's professional legacy but also for its historical point of view." -- Epicurious.com

"The 256-page monograph is a steal at $40 and a must for package designers and both print and digital typographers." -- InteriorDesign.com

"Sumptuous logos, books, menus, and packaging abound, but the unexpected treat comes in the form of case studies: sketches, inspirations and design process. Not to be missed." --Communication Arts

"Long known as something of a revolutionary in the field of book-jacket design, Fili took her distinctive and elegant old-world style to the food-packaging industry in 1989. There she brought a whole new level of sophistication to everything from candybar wrappers to wine bottles-and you can find many of them here." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Elegantissima is evidence of [Fili's] success. The monograph is filled with case studies, anecdotes, and luscious spreads from an extraordinary career's worth of design. Most of the book will make you hungry, or at least move up your plans to go to Europe. Bellissima!" -- Imprint

"Appropriately lavish and stunning, Elegantissima is the perfect showcase of Fili's intricate, arresting, and always elegant work." -- Brain Pickings

"An image-heavy book that will make type and design nerds drool." -- Bust magazine

About the Author

Louise Fili is director of Louise Fili Ltd, a New York-based design studio specializing in logo, package, restaurant, and book design. Formerly senior designer for Herb Lubalin, Louise Fili was art director of Pantheon Books from 1978 to 1989, where she designed close to 2000 book jackets. Fili has taught and lectured on graphic design and typography, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Cooper Hewitt Museum, and the Bibliothèque Nationale. She is a member of the Art Directors Hall of Fame, and received the medal of lifetime achievement from the AIGA.

Fili is the author of Elegantissima, published by Princeton Architectural Press. She has also written The Civilized Shopper's Guide to Florence and co-authored Italianissimo. With her husband, the design historian Steven Heller, she is co-author of Italian Art Deco, British Modern, Dutch Moderne, Streamline, French Modern, Deco España, German Modern, Design Connoisseur, Counter Culture, Typology, Stylepedia, Euro Deco, Scripts, and Shadow Type.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 9.1.2012 edition (September 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616890975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616890971
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Louise Fili is director of Louise Fili Ltd, a New York-based design studio specializing in branding for food packaging and restaurants. Formerly senior designer for Herb Lubalin, Louise Fili was art director of Pantheon Books for eleven years, where she designed close to 2000 book jackets. Fili has taught and lectured on graphic design and typography, and her work is in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Cooper Hewitt Museum, and the Bibliothèque Nationale. She is a member of the Art Directors Hall of Fame, and received the medal of lifetime achievement from the AIGA.

Fili is the author of Elegantissima, Grafica della Strada, and Graphique de la Rue. She also co-authored and designed Italianissimo and The Cognoscenti's Guide to Florence. With her husband, the design historian Steven Heller, she is co-author of Italian Art Deco, British Modern, Dutch Moderne, Streamline, French Modern, Deco España, German Modern, Design Connoisseur, Counter Culture, Typology, Stylepedia, Euro Deco, Scripts, Shadow Type, and Stencil Type.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have long been a fan of Louise Fili's work, but up till now I have only been able to see it on a catch-as-catch-can basis. In Elegantissima, a beautifully produced book that is a treat to hold and peruse, all of Louise's magnificent work (to date!) is collected in one sumptuous volume, book jackets, restaurant logos, packaging, etc. That alone is enough to make this book worthy of inclusion on every designer's bookshelf. But the deeper lure of Elegantissima is the fascinating narrative written by the designer. Her insightful, knowing, sometimes wry commentary on each project conveys a lifetime of experience that is not to be missed. I especially enjoyed the process sketches and reference photos included as background for some projects. Louise's extensive documentation of shop and restaurant signage is referred to here, and it is my sincere hope that her photographic cache will one day become the subject of another volume; it would be a fantastic typographic resource. The one tiny disappointment of Elegantissima is the (slanted) misprinting of a block of her "Love" stamp design on p 246, no doubt a production error; it should not deter you, however, from treating yourself to this book. It is a joy to own.
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By LKP on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Handsome is, as handsome does. If you are an admirer of Louise Fili's work (I am) you would naturally expect a book designed by her, about her own work, to be flawless. And, oh boy, it is. This beautifully-designed volume covers her amazing career, and even gives us a couple of enticing peeks into her studio environment. Did I get out the magnifying glass to see if we owned some of the same books? -- Yes. (We do.) The reader is treated to some "in progress" sketches -- and in one case, I almost applauded to see that she had sketched some of her preliminary logo ideas on the pages of an old Italian ledger. Such brilliance. Do you like.....flavors, colors, typography, vintage ephemera, elegance, tasteful graphics, whimsy, travel, tradition, innovation??? .....
Then you will enjoy this book. Life is beautiful -- and Louise explains why.
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Format: Hardcover
I devoured this book. Getting it personally signed by Louise Fili with her voluptuous, beautiful handwriting was the yummy appetizer; then taking in, spread after spread was another fine course. I loved reading the subheads, and the sidebars are often dishy and always informative. Her exquisite collaborations and inspirations are showcased in a very clean and inviting manner. Fili's text is inviting as well, consistently generous with juicy, behind-the-scene details, including many aspects of her process--the stuff we designers go gaga for. ELEGANTISSIMA is my favorite monograph (including Chip Kidd's) to date. To top it off, in the foreword, Steve Heller (Louise's husband, prolific author, and former art director of the New York Times Book Review) reveals a personal letter to Louise, written in 1982. All is a must-read for every designer, young and seasoned, and anyone who relishes beauty and history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As you will notice this little jewel has already received an impressive collection of five star reviews. And there there for good reason. This is one beautiful book. The assortment of advertising and typographical examples Louise Fili has assembled makes for very delightful viewing. The book offers a wide variety of both her own work and classic period pieces. As one who does not make his living in this field I can only appreciate this work from the aesthetic point of view. That alone, however, makes this volume well worth owning. For one employed in the trade I can't imagine passing it over.
I have several books by Steven Heller and Louise Fili and this husband / wife collaboration has produced some real treasures. I can only imagine what wonders are housed in their combined archives. They are both to be thanked for making so much of their painstaking research and amazing collection available to the rest of us.
Louise is incredibly gifted in her ability to incorporate the beautiful scripts, ornamentation and images of a bygone era and give them a contemporary look. She, singlehandedly, puts to rest the old canard - "never judge a book by its cover". I have no doubt the packaging she creates outshines most of the products contained therein.
I would add, in addition to the obvious visual merits of this book, Mrs. Fili is quite a wordsmith. She has a definite flair for turning a phrase. Her ability to create prose with a such a decided flourish is rather unique in the genre of the art book. Typically one glides through these books content in just appreciating the images while overlooking the cumbersome writing. Her's is a pleasant exception.
The production quality of this book is all one could hope for and well deserving of its contents.
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Format: Hardcover
Louise Fili is a legend and her work is truly amazing. This monograph beautifully features many of her restaurant and packaging designs and even includes a before and after section with logos she redesigned. Each entry includes descriptions which are informative, engaging, and help you better understand Louise Fili as well as the particular project.

As an experienced design student, this was an invaluable resource and I will continue to use it throughout the years. It is a great addition for any design library and the hardcover is of very high quality. Treat yourself to a copy today!
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