Sergio ruffolo

was one of the greatest italian
graphic designer

1916Born on Jan. 1st, 1916 in Cosenza, Sergio Ruffolo lived and worked in Rome. In 1942 he married Angelica (Ginetta) Scarpa (Treviso 1919 - Rome 2010), who has been also his main professional partner for a lifetime.

1940-44He participated in the Second World War in North Africa. After the armistice (8 September 1943) he entered the ranks of the Resistance. Imprisoned by the nazi-fascists, he escaped the Gestapo jail while the Allies were entering Rome (4 June 1944).

1945-47After graduation he began, without enthusiasm, clerical work. He kept his commitment in the democratic and socialist area, meeting political and intellectual leaders such as Ernesto Rossi, Altiero Spinelli, Paolo Sylos Labini, Leo Solari.

1948-52After starting as a graphic designer with the project of the Young Socialists’ magazine, "Socialist Revolution", he gradually expanded his activities in design, painting and sculpture, ceramics and jewelry.

1953-59He held his first exhibition in Rome (February 1953). In this period he realized, inter alia, the promotional and advertising campaigns of the RAI (Italian Radio-TV Company) and the graphic design of the independent magazine "Italia Domani"

1960-67He got on working for RAI, in particular through the graphic design of its financial statements. He realized for AGIP (ENI Group, Oil industry) advertising campaigns, graphic design of Group companies’ financial statements, the magazine "Il Mondo dell’Energia" and later "Ecos". He realized four campaigns for road safety promoted by the relevant Ministry.

1970-81He developed some electoral campaigns of the Italian Socialist Party. For RAI developed intro/opening credits of TV programs, including TG3 (news), and adv spots. He created several decks of playing cards both for consumers (for Dal Negro company) and for business such as ENI, Mira Lanza, Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo. In 1975 he realized the graphic design of the newspaper "La Repubblica" and, later, "Il Giornale di Calabria" and "Gazzetta di Mantova”, "Gazzetta di Modena” and “Gazzetta di Reggio”. He held two solo exhibitions in Rome.

1982-89He realized the graphic design of other newspapers, such as "La Nazione" and "Il Resto del Carlino". In 1986 he published a book titled "Vestire i Giornali” (Dressing the Newspapers) where he condensed his experience in this area, and in 1989 "Gutenberg", a biography of the inventor of the printing press. He held solo exhibitions in Mantova and Cremona.
He died Dec. 26, 1989.

“Vestire I Giornali” (Dressing the Newspapers)
The notebook of a graphic designer: ideas, projects and reflections on the Italian press from 1940s’ to date. Foreword by Giovanni Giovannini
1986, ed. Gutenberg 2000 srl, Torino

“Studi per il progetto grafico de Il Resto del Carlino” (Preliminary works for the graphic design of the newspaper “Il Resto del Carlino”
1986, ed. Grafica Palombi - Roma

“Gutenberg”
A biography of the inventor of the printing press. Foreword by Giovanni Giovannini
368 illustrations, mainly in colour
1991, ed. Gutenberg 2000 srl, Torino

1953Rome
“San Marco” gallery: solo exhibition of graphic art, advertising and design
Photo Shots

1967London
Today's Italian Graphic Design show

1968Parma
Premio Bodoni (Bodoni Award) show

1970Milan,
Annual reviews of the Art Directors

1972Rome
“II Torcoliere” gallery
Solo exhibition of paintings, sculpture and design

1975Rome
“Nuova Ciak” gallery
Solo exhibition of paintings, sculpture and design

1982Mantova
“Palazzo della Ragione”
Personal anthology of paintings, sculpture, graphic design (with the patronage of the President of the Republic of Italy and the City of Mantua)
Photo ShotsVideo

1984Trento, Bergamo, Brescia, Bologna
“9 Colonne” gallery
Solo exhibition of graphic design and painting

1986Cremona
“Centro Culturale Città di Cremona”
Personal anthology of graphic, paintings, sculpture and design (with the patronage of the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers and the City of Cremona)

1992Rome
“Arti Visive” gallery
First posthumous exhibition

1994Bologna
“Arte Fiera”, show/market of contemporary art

1997Cosenza
Teatro Rendano
Retrospective anthology “Sergio Ruffolo, il sogno dei segni”

1999Rome
Palazzo Valentini
“Sergio Ruffolo. L’Universo in linea 1968/1989, dal disegno al design” (with the support of the Province of Rome)

He also participated in numerous group exhibitions and his works are collected in Stedeelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Salce Collection of Treviso, the CSAC of Parma, the Historical Archives of Advertising in Genoa and in private collections.

“Suggestione pubblicitaria”, (illustrated book re. 50 years of publicity in Italy), Novara 1953

Aiap, “Rassegna di lavori grafici”, Milano 1963 (Aiap is the Italian Association of Visual Communication)

RAI, “Propaganda grafica della Rai”, Roma 1963

“Pubblicità in Italia” (annual), Milano

“Art Directors” (annual), Milano

“Graphis Annual”, Zurich

“Modern Publicity” (annual), London

“La voce del collezionista”, Milano 1970/1972

C. Vivaldi, “Disegni di Sergio Ruffolo”, publisher: Il Torcoliere, Roma 1972

H. Schindler, “Monografie des Plakats”, München Süddeutscher Verlag, 1972

Studio Sironi (editor), “Due Dimensioni”, Milano 1973

“Top Symbols and Trademarks of the World”, publisher: F.M. Ricci, Milano 1973

“Civiltà delle Macchine” n. 1-2, Roma 1973

D. Micacchi e C. Vivaldi, “Segni nello spazio”, publisher: La nuova Foglio editrice, Macerata 1975

“Vogue Casa”, Milano 1976

“Civiltà delle Macchine” n. 1-2, Roma 1976

David Carter (editor), “Letterheads/1 : the international annual of letterhead design”, Ashland, Kentucky (USA), 1977

Anna Zunino, Francesco Colaminici (editors), “L’Arte della Pubblicità – Quaderni dell’Archivio Storico della Pubblicità”, publisher: Corigraf, Genova 1996

Roberto Steve Gobesso, “Un bestiario mitologico e fantastico – la grafica e l’arte di Sergio Ruffolo” (A Mythological and Fanciful Bestiary – Graphic & Art of Sergio Ruffolo), in: Progetto grafico nn. 14-15, June 2009

Our first debt of gratitude is to Ginetta Ruffolo Scarpa (1919-2010), wife of Sergio Ruffolo, who has tirelessly promoted his work.

The family and the editors of this site would like to remember and thank the persons who esteemed and/or cooperated with Sergio Ruffolo:

Collaborators of Studio Ruffolo:
Giorgio Bonifazi Razzanti, Marina Bonifazi Razzanti Marini, Michael Depalma, Manuela Loewenherz, Gaia Marano, Vanna Perna, Luca Piffero, Luigi Piffero, Silvia Ruffolo

Art critics: Vito Arienti, Piero Dorazio, Micacchi Dario, Paolo Fossati, Sandra Giannattasio, Roberto Steve Gobesso, Mario Lunetta, Alessandro Masi, Tonino Sicoli, Claudia Terenzi, Lorenza Cheats, Cesare Vivaldi

Cultural operators who supported Ginetta Scarpa Ruffolo to organize posthumous exhibitions: Maria Alfani Di Bella, Sylvia Franchi, Eugenia Lefebvre

Journalists, directors of newspapers and magazines, other professionals with whom he collaborated and/or had cultural affinity: Gaetano Afeltra, Paolo Andreocci, Marcello Colitti, Paolo Caccia Dominioni, Vanni Delfini, Francesco Flores D'Arcais, Antonio Ghirelli, Giovanni Giovannini, Antonio Leoni, Simone Lombardi, Gianni Minoli, Aristide Palombi, Piero Ottone, Gianluigi Piccioli, Mario Pirani, Eugenio Scalfari, Leonardo Sinisgalli, Domenico Tantillo, Maurizio Valeri Curti

Political leaders with whom he shared ideals and commitment: Aldo Garosci, Antonio Giolitti, Giacomo Mancini, Ernesto Rossi, Leo Solari, Altiero Spinelli

Thanks to cultural institutions that house the works of Sergio Ruffolo:
Archivio Storico della Pubblicità - Genova
CSAC (Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione) - Parma
Collezione Salce - Treviso
Stedelijk Museum – Amsterdam.

Special thanks go finally to the editors of the first version of this website, Roberto Steve Gobesso and Raimondo Giuliani; Raimondo with fellow professionals of his study "Officine06" also realized this second version.