Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 23: Bialetti’s Little Man with the Moustache

I admire old companies.

They’ve thrived.

They’ve suffered.

They’ve survived.

Alfonso Bialetti opened his workshop for aluminum products in 1919. But in 1933 Bialetti released the Moka Express. A first of it’s kind, at home coffee maker. Within a few years, his Moka pot would establish Bialetti as a global company. It remains the most famous home coffee maker in the world (yeah I’m claiming it. Forget you Keurig!).

Part of the Moka Express’ fame is owed to its timeless art-deco design. But the other is owned in part to graphic design. Bialetti’s iconic symbol, the Little Man with the Moustache, first appeared in 1958. The artist, Paolo “Paul” Campani designed the logo as a caricature of Alfonso Bialetti’s son Renato Bialetti. While Paul’s career led him into comics, his foray into graphic design left a historic mark.

Is the l’omino con i baffi a symbol? Is he a mascot? Is he a logo? I’d say a little of all three. The combination of shapes, ovals, triangles, ellipses, rectangles all combine into an instantly recognizable brand.

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