Farewell to Mario Gerbi, the “master of signs” between newspapers and design

The architect Mario Gerbi, active between graphics and design

Architect and visual communicator, he had worked for years as a graphic designer in the Tyrrhenian Sea, then he lived in Marche

LIVORNO. To us in the Tyrrhenian Sea, he was “the master of signs”: we called him that in the editorial office, and that’s how his friend remembers him. Sergio Tani. Behind that definition was the idea of ​​what the profession of graphic designer in a newspaper must have been: not just a designer of the dummy (the outline of the page), but the inventor of the “sign” that allows readers to move every day themselves within the pages of their newspaper and decipher the context and the references. Mario Gerbifor many years at work designing the identikit that Il Tirreno presented himself to his public, died a few weeks before turning 73.

The wife Marinachildren Nico, Francomaria, Agnes And Cleartogether with relatives and friends, they gave him the last hug in the church of San Giovanni Battista in Scapezzano, a small brick village with less than 400 souls, which is a jewel complete with a castle and, as he said, is “on the hills of Senigallia, a breath of wind from the sea ».

He lived in the Marche region after his experience as a graphic designer in the Tyrrhenian Sea and after being asked to follow the new graphic layout of the newspapers that the Espresso group gradually acquired (Nuova Sardegna, Il Mattino di Padova, Tribuna di Treviso, New Venice, the province of Pavia and the center of Abruzzo).

Carlo Caracciolo and Mario Lenzi had also entrusted him with a study of readers’ perceptions of the introduction of colors in the daily press: that is why he travels the world following examples such as USA Today and, above all, what the study center was doing. out of a Japanese giant.

As we said, after a passage to Repubblica’s Roman editorial office, it is here at Corriere Adriatico, a daily newspaper from Matera: a restyling so 360 degrees that what Gerbi himself said was not only and only to worry about graphics but also the editorial architecture and workplace ergonomics.

But Gerbi’s professional career can not only be included in work in the heart of the daily press. If only because his education in architecture had made him take his first steps away from titles, lines between columns and low cuts. We are talking about a phase marked by an internship and collaborating with a scientific-environmental institution (Migliarino San Rossore Park) and with two leading studies (such as the architect’s Adolfo Natalini and the architect’s Spadolini). During these years he was involved in projects related to the Murate prison, the conversion of a former cinema into a theater, the construction of a pleasure boat, the defense of dunes and beaches. Architect and environmental projects but also design.

Apart from other experiences with editorial graphics (at Avanti, but also in various corporate or sector publications), his arrival at Marche led him to pave the way for communication: for example, to lend a hand to the teams working at the international festival in Polverigi or act as art director at the Pergolesi Theater in Jesi or take care of the Marche Philharmonic Orchestra’s image.

The next phase is about a further chapter in the communication with his study Architettando: the aspect of visual culture was at the center both in the work as a teacher at the Experimental Design Center and in projects for companies in terms of product packaging.

The last emphasis concerns a common thread of solidarity commitment in support of those who feel tired of living. If he had previously been involved with Pisa, as well as the publisher Del Cerro, also to collaborate with the Institute of Child Neuropsychiatry, in Senigallia, the Gerbi Arca Autismo Foundation helped make communication effective.

The most unforgettable experience? He told it himself and remembered when he was going to bring a group of disabled riders to be the protagonists of a terrain trip that is unique in the world of the Tunisian desert. After all, the former national rugby team had a great passion for adventure and off-roading (almost a mirror of curiosity about exploring unusual paths in the subject). And apart from the dream of seeing himself in the future as a breeder of certain dogs as Siberian shepherds, his favorite book was the impossible challenge Todd Ball at the head of a National Geographic expedition in the Tibetan gorge like Yarlung Tsangpo, in an almost inaccessible stretch of the Brahmaputra River in Tibet.

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