A journey amid the signs of Milan

Once upon a time there was a city, with its streets, shops and talents... But attentive readers will notice that Milan still exists, and still has much to offer (maybe even more), if only they let themselves wonder at the stories of Pixartprinting, in a journey of historic signage and contemporary representation, a harmony of somber nostalgia and elegant practical sense.

There is a new chapter in the communication strategy of Pixartprinting, a European leader in the field of in line printing: an appealing design and excellent execution characterize the site that houses the words and images of  “T’insegno Milano” (I’ll teach you to sign Milan, Ndt) , an evocative tour of the historic shop signs of Lombardy’s capital.
At the foundation of the project is the innovative potential that underpins the core business of the Venetian printer, which consists in a contamination of languages and a sharing of contents, with the objective of promoting culture in the fields of visual communication and design, expanding the target community and also getting end consumers involved.
It’s no coincidence, then, that we find the signs of historic shops and restaurants under the spotlight in this unique itinerary. They enchant with their variety of styles and creativity, with their choice of elegant and perfectly restored typographic characters: a worthy homage to those commercial activities that have built the history and elegance of Milan.

Visual Shopping. The 30 photographs by Marco Valmarana create an impassioned narrative that invites one to go window shopping immersed in the aesthetic heritage, with deep roots in the collective imagination of the city, which the shop signs offer: artefacts that represent the best of yesterday’s Made in Italy while simultaneously helping to shape the image of contemporary, cosmopolitan Milan.

«What’s more - explains Andrea Pizzola, Sales & Marketing Director Pixartprinting - with the project “T’insegno Milano”, we sought to create the perfect bridge between the creativity of contemporary retail design and the taste and imagery of a past that still has the capacity to move us. While today, on one hand, there has been a return to the neighborhood shop, on the other, the visual communication dedicated to POPs has abandoned artisanry for industrial production techniques which can nonetheless still tap into the immense traditional knowhow which we are celebrating with this project»

The value of people. However... “T’insegno Milano” doesn’t just feature the shops and signage of the past: the current owners of these locales are also protagonists in this story. They pose in front of their shop windows to bear witness to the passion and engagement which often goes beyond purely economic motives. And their stories, recounted with succinctness and simplicity by Marina Ruberto, are inevitably interwoven with those of the city, offering surprising and curious discoveries.

In conclusion. Without falling prey to municipal rivalries, we would like to conclude with a compelling passage from the initiative’s website which, to our minds, well represents the spirit in which the project “T’insegno Milano” was developed, and which has deeply impacted those who worked on it: «Tenacity, pride, passion, respect and dignity. Courtesy, wisdom, humor, hope and irony. Fatalism, resistance, stories of the past and visions of the future. We thank our signs for venting our frustrations without ever devolving into desperation, for beautifully expressed Italian (which is never a given), for words both dry and smooth, and with that bittersweet, restrained sarcasm that is truly exclusive to the hearts of the Milanese».  


“T’insegno Milano” is all there, in the images of shop signs that bear witness to that quintessentially Milanese taste for time-tested craftsmanship, for a trade cultivated with passion and love. But it is also in the thirty stories of men and women that come to life on the website www.pixartprinting.it/content/milan-re-tale”, recounting how it’s still possible to work as an artisan by cultivating a love for the details of the past while also looking forward.

Bar Magenta, Peck’s gastronomy, Cova pastry shop and the Sartori ice-cream kiosk, but also the frame shop C. Grassi with its frames made to order, the Pettinaroli stationery shop - which offers elegant leather bound notebooks that are hand-wrapped), the watch-seller and jeweler Piccolo with its exhibition of tools of the trade from the 1940s...

And then, how could we forget Italy’s oldest bookstore, Bocca, and the wine and whiskey shop Gin Rosa, the haircare shop Mutinelli (which in addition to its Art Nouveau sign, maintains its original furnishings and floor from the late 19th century)... Or the Fratelli Bonvini stationery shop, which was saved from obscurity by a group of passionate fans that could not do without its pens, blotters, inkwells and those classic letter paperweights with periods and commas. And still, the Grassi P. haberdashery, the only survivor of Via Poliziano with its impossible collection of buttons and its touching retro sign...



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