March 23, 2013

POSTED BY

Calum Harbison

CATEGORY

Guide to the Art of Italian Hand Gestures

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I recently discovered a really fascinating book, entitled Speak Italian: The Fine Art of the Gesture. Published in 1958, the artist and graphic designer, Bruno Munari, created this minimalist guide to the Italian way of talking through hand gestures. The book features a nominal amount of descriptive text and is …

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I recently discovered a really fascinating book, entitled Speak Italian: The Fine Art of the Gesture. Published in 1958, the artist and graphic designer, Bruno Munari, created this minimalist guide to the Italian way of talking through hand gestures.

The book features a nominal amount of descriptive text and is accompanied by a selection of elegant black and white photographs portraying the hand gestures of everyday phrases and emotions. My personal favourite has to be the charming ‘I’ve got an idea’ image explained by the description, “index finger points to the place where ideas are supposed to be born.”

This guide focuses on common gestures, leaving out many of the well-known vulgar signals, and would be an essential read before any future travels to Italy. Though many of the gestures documented in the book are strikingly familiar, others like ‘what a bore’ and ‘no good’ are fresh and unique; with the ‘what a bore’ gesture expressing boredom and weariness with something or someone that proves indigestible.

After looking through the preview page selection of the book, I not only enjoyed learning about these unique non-verbal gestures but also the minimal design of the book itself. I found the simplistic nature of description and vintage photos really appealing and visually interesting.

I have included a selection of gestures below. I wonder how many of these you can understand without reading their description?

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