Isotta Dardilli: Queen of Italian Graphic Design and All Around Fabulous Person

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Isotta Dardilli’s Poster design for the COLORS of Money Poster, 2009

Todays’s Lucid Thoughts post is something a little bit different.  Rather than featuring a photographer’s work I have decided to showcase the work of Isotta Darilli is a queen of Italian graphic design.  She has been one of the coolest people I have met because of my involvement with Fabrica, and we have maintained an artistically creative friendship ever since our first emails about 5 years ago.

I met Isotta when she was working for FABRICA in Italy.  Fabrica is Benetton’s communication research centre lab where art is encouraged through various projects.  Fabrica is responsible for the amazing COLORS Magazine.  It is though a joint project of COLORS magazine that I first met Isotta.

I had submitted a blank COLORS NOTEBOOK for consideration in their collection.  I filled the the newsprint blank pages with stencils, photographs and words.  I was shocked to learn 6 months latter that mine had been chosen to tour with a COLORS Notebook world exhibition.  I was further dumfounded to learn that my images would be published in the FACES collection of the COLORS notebook project.   Because of this work, I formed a tight bond with Isotta.

Isotta’s heart is as big and fresh as her graphic work.  She doesn’t consider herself a photographer but she loves to take snap shots of her friends.  Her passion for graphic design has led her to take a short term teaching position this summer at Shanghai University of Fine Art, sharing her love of graphic design with Chinese students.

I invite my Lucid Communication readers to wander through Isotta’s website Isotype to get a full feel for her work.  I am inspired by looking at her images, and I am so thankful for the warmth and friendship she has shown me and my photography.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Isotta for the Lucid Thoughts blog.


Please take a minute and introduce yourself to Lucid Communication?
Behind the scene I’m a bear. A beach bear, who loves the sound of the sea more than anything else. I’m lazy and I love to stay at home, watch movies and dream of an imaginary life. I love to spend my time with friends too, drinking red wine and smoking cigarettes.  I love also to waste time.

Where do you like best to take pictures?
I’m honestly not a good photographer, so any place could be good or bad, in any case my pictures will be bad.  I studied photography in high school, but I lost the knowledge on the way, because I have discovered art and graphic design.  I studied with an analog camera, developing my pictures in my bathroom (my mother was always annoyed about it, because she couldn’t enter in the bathroom for hours and hours).  Anyway, I really love to watch pictures from other people.

What was your first camera?
My first camera was a very nice camera and I still have it in storage somewhere.  It was a really old Nikkormat.

What camera do you like to use now, and why?
I don’t  have any cameras now, I just use an  iPhone.  I really love to take pictures with my mobile phone…eheh.

Does your design and your photography work together?
Yes, a lot of my work is connected with photography, but every time I have asked a good photographer to take the pictures for me.  I think that this is a good way to work.  I leave the photography to someone who can do his/her job really well!

editors note:  This is good news for all the photographers out there.  Isotta knows when to step aside and let a professional photographer take over.  In the end it will help take her projects to the next level.

We met because of your work with FABRICA. We first came into contact with the each other because of the COLORS Notebook, and later the FACES book.  You spent a long time working with FABRICA. What was it like working for them? How was it working with artists from all over the world?

Working at Fabrica was amazing!   I learned a lot of things, a learned to connect with people.  I understand the process of how people come to find a solution.  I learned that all around the world is full of very very very amazing people, young people, people that have something to say.  And, also, I discovered how nice  it is to share your opinion with others.  Surely with the help of other people your project becomes more beautiful.  And I also learned that it is always great to have fun while you are working!  If more people had fun while working the world would be much nicer place.

editors note:  Lucid Communication made a submission to the Colors Notebook project with little hope of anything coming out of my contribution.  I was shocked to find out 6 months later that my notebook had been selected to tour around the world.  It eventually led to the publication of the Fabrica book:  COLORS NOTEBOOK FACES. which featured a spread of Jacob Schere’s work, along with many other fantastic artists.

Isotta’s own COLORS Notebook

What did you learn from working with FABRICA on the NOTEBOOK project?
I already answered the first part of the question of what it was like to work for FABRICA. For the second part, WOW, it’s a very difficult question.  Colors Notebook was a project that I left a piece of my heart and soul with.  It’s very hard for me to talk about it, because someone above me took me out of the project to try to do it all himself, and the project died. Because you need a lot of  heart to do a project like that. So, it was my passion out of the box.  I don’t really know how to explain it, other than it really took a piece of my heart.

I’ve never seen so many people that loved to be part of a project.  And, all the people  give us such amazing contributions for free.  I understand that a lot of people all around the world does’t have any way to express themselves… therefore I wanted  to find a way for these people to be able to express themselves the best I could.  I would like to emphasize that I took over this project after my colleague, Lorenzo De Rita who invented it and then left FABRICA.

What do you want people to experience when they look at your images?
Are you talking about colors notebook?  That people become aware of what is happening beyond their reach.

How has digital design changed the design world and the way that you create?
Probably that you have more options to try to do something.  Everything is easier.  I discovered that many people are creative and before had no way to be.

You recently founded your own company, What are the goals for Isotype Studio?
I do not know, I’m currently spending a sabbatical moment (smiles!)But the energy here is fantastic, isotype is just a little part of WAX studio…We are only 7 people in total, but the space is place where very cool gypsy like people can come with their laptops and work on their own projects.  The people are free to interact and talk together about everyone else’s projects.

Is there anything else you would like to say to the Lucid Communication family?
Spend well your time because life is one and society needs solutions to be able to have a good life!

Where can we see more of your work online? (but after the sabbatical year I promise I will update it!!!)

I love his work, he give me a good energy to do my work!


I would like to express my deepest thanks to Isotta for taking time to share her thoughts and art with Lucid Communication.  I look forward to more interaction between us in the future.  In the meantime please browse her website, and take a look at a sample of her work below.

Tallulah Gallery Illustration


Tee Shirt Design for Nivea


The Faces book that Isotta curated, and featured work by Jacob Schere


Book Designs for Designer Block


CD Design for The Quick Brown Fox


Art Direction for the COLORS Money Exhibition


Art Direction for Canova Show for Fabrica


All images are used courtesy of Isotta Dardilli from her website 


The Japanese Maple are Exploding with Color

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The autumn colors have been super late arriving this year in and around where I live.  I has very happy to have found that the Japanese Maple trees around are finally displaying their explosive colors.  These five-pointed leaves are alive rich hues that bound from the deep wine burgundies to multicolored mix and matched colors of yellows and reds.  The hues awaken my senses and I am always amazed at how vibrant these colors can be.

I found these all at a little temple complex on top of a small hill in Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan.  There were all amazing hues that teased my Ricoh GR IV out of my pocket and into my hand.  I searched out those hues that pulled me like a magnet towards them.   I wasn’t the only one wandering around this small complex looking at the autumn leaves.  There were several groups of mainly older Japanese looking at the trees.

Just another reason to be thankful.  I am thankful to the Creator for splashing my cold gray day with the explosions of color from the Mimoji trees.

Burgundy Japanese Maple (Momiji 紅葉)

Starbust Japanese Maple Leaf  (Momiji 紅葉 )

Autumn Red Japanese Maple Leaf (Momiji 紅葉)

Pre Autumn Burst of Red

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The temperature may have dropped in Tokyo, but the autumn leaves have yet to arrive.  I am not complaining, I am immensely thankful for the cool weather that I have breezing in through my windows.  I am, however, anticipating the changing leaves.  Those colors that dance on my lens as the long rays of autumn light struggle to reach earth.

Today I kept my eye peeled for any signs of the changing leaves to come.  Have the tips of any leaves started to morph into those autumn hues?  Not yet.  They will come soon enough.  In the meantime I found a bush of these flowers tucked behind a huge hydrangea bush at a small buddhist temple.  They are just a taste of the colors that are to come.  I give thanks for all the bursting colors of summer that are still hanging on into autumn.

Autumn Red Flower Burst


Saturday, April 24th, 2010

I have been meaning to post this for a while.  I am so thankful for the people over at FABRICA and across the world who participated in the COLORS NOTEBOOK project.  I like others got their blank template in my post box, and thought about what to put in this notebook of anything I wanted to be, and then sent it off.

A good few months later, I find out that it had been selected to be shown in some of the FARBICA exhibitions of the Notebook Project.  Including Shanghai, Tokyo, Europe. Later I was contacted by Carlos, over at Fabrica that they were using my images from the magazine in a collection of the book FACES.  I was one of the many artist to be selected in the publication.

A special shout out to to Carlos and Isotta at Fabrica for opening a beautiful relationship.  For my brother Frederic in Paris for helping get the french right.  And my brother Brimstone127 for providing one of the inspirational portraits and pieces in the my colors notebook.  A beautiful blog that was created with notebookers from all over the By the Rest of the WORLD.

the text in French and English is below the images.

the can be ordered here Colors Notebook Faces

Colors Notebook Page 01

Colors Notebook Page 02

Colors Notebook Page 03

Colors Notebook Page 04

Jacob Schere, 1971, artist and photographer, Japan

I would shrivel up and die as a human being if I didn’t allow myself a creative outlet. I am never without art least one camera. If I forget a camera, I’m like, “oh shit, I am butt-ass naked!”

Treat others with respect, question those that have authority. Use our god-given ability to reason to seek out the light in the midst of the darkness. As an Expressionista, I know there is evil in the world. We are surrounded daily byy this imagery. I want to create work of Expression that shows the positive side, too.

My grandmother passed away in 2000, and in the Jewish tradition one year later there is the unveiling of the gravestone. This happened just three weeks after September 11. I debated with my wife whether we should travel to the unveiling. It was in New York City. Eventually we chose to travel and to be with my family. Wandering the streets with camera in hand, I was overcome. I couldn’t control myself. I just took, picture after picture. On a warm day my wife and I ventured down to Ground Zero. You have to remember this is only a couple weeks later – the ground was still smoking, everything was closed. Again, I couldn’t control myself. I shot endlessly.

There wasn’t time to take it in. Just capture in now. Be in the moment of getting the images, When I went back to Tokyo and started to edit my pictures I let the images seep into my soul, and I realized that I had after so many years found my voice as an artist.

Je me recroquevillerais et je mourrais si je ne m’autorisais pas un exutoire créatif. Je ne sors jamais sans mon appareil photo. Si je l’oublie, je me sens tout nu. Traitez les autres avec respect, remettez en cause ceux qui détiennent le pouvoir. Utilisez la capacité à réfléchir que Dieu vous donne pour chercher la lumière en pleine obscurité. En tant qu’expressionniste, je sais que le Diable vit sur Terre. Nous sommes entourés quotidiennement par des images le représentant. Je veux créer des oeuvres expressionnistes qui montrent ce que le monde a de positif.

Ma grand-mère est morte en 2000, et dans la tradition juive, l’année suivante, on inaugure la Pierre tombale. Cela s’est passé juste après le 11 septembre. Ma femme et moi avons discute pour savoir s’il était sage de se rende a l’inauguration qui avait lieu a New York. Nous avons finalement décidé d’y aller et d’être aux cotés de ma famille. Tandis que je me promenais dans les rues, mon appareil photo a la main, j’étais bouleversé. Je ne pouvais me contrôler, je prenais photo après photo. Une journée ensoleillée, ma femme et moi nous nous sommes rendus a Ground Zéro. Ce n’était pas fermé, le sol fumait encore. Encore une fois, j’avais du mal a me contrôler, je n’arrêtais pas de pendre des photos, je n’avais pas de temps a perdre, il fallait que je capture tous ces moments. Quand je suis rentré à Tokyo et que j’ai trié mes photos, j’ai laissé ces images infiltrer lentement man âme. C’est a ce moment-la que j’ai ai réalisé que j’ avais finalement, après toutes ces années d’errance, trouver ma voie en tant qu’artiste. Mon travail et mes photos sont le but de ma vie. ce n’est pas temps ce que j’ai envie de faire mais ce que je dois faire.

Colors on an Cloudy Day

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

The icy finger of nature touched down in Tokyo today.  I longed for the beautiful summery day we had

on Sunday.  It felt like the good weather would never end, but it has.  The skies were gray and the temperture

dropped.  Therefore to cheer myself up I put up some vibrant colors from over the weekend.

Enjoy and let the colors on in!

Blue Wall Ocean

Red Wall Spigot

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