Featured Communication Designer

Maurizio Piacenza

April 2019

The line up for Kerning Conference this year is amazing! Sarah Hyndman (@typetasting); Louise Fili (@louisefili); Lila Symons (@lilasymons) from @hallmark; @pentagramdesign Partner, Astrid Stavro (@astridstavro), the list goes on! Plus a heap of type specific workshops across the two-days prior to the conference. To warm up for the epic 3 days in June we had a quick chat with Communication Designer & Kerning organiser Maurizio Piacenza about what it's like organising an international conference, balancing work & life, and what the rest of 2019 looks like.

How did you name your practice and what does the name represent to you?

My nickname has always been “piac”. It’s an abbreviation of my surname, Piacenza. My friends always called me like that. When I started as a designer I decided to add an article in front of that nickname, so changing it to “ilpiac”. “Il” does mean in fact, “the”. Why? Because in Milan, where I’ve been living for more than 20 years now, people usually add an article before first names! They don’t usually tell “per favore chiama Chloe”, but “per favore chiama LA Chloe” :) It’s like you would say in English “please call THE Chloe” and not “please call Chloe”. Funny, isn’t it? So this is why online I’m “ilpiac”!

Talk us through a typical working day include for you right now.

I don’t have a typical working day. It depends on what projects I’m working on at the moment and what’s going on in my family. I usually stand up at 6 AM. I then prepare breakfast for my family and after breakfast, we go to school. I mean, Leonardo — our son — goes to school ;) I bring him to school, then I come back home. I work from home or at co-working places, it depends. I don’t have an office any more, and I don't need it in fact. I changed the way I work 6 years ago when our life changed after our son Leonardo was diagnosed with drug-resistant epilepsy. It’s easier for me being able to change the place I work at without having a proper office. Since then, I try to balance family and work in a more effective way. And I try to use what I know about communications design to develop projects that can have a positive social impact.

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

Kerning, of course! Kerning is a conference that started in 2013. I was not part of the group who organized the first edition, but I designed the notebook for the conference that we printed in letterpress. I’m passionate about letterpress and type in fact. I attended the conference of course, and I then started to collaborate with them. I’m now part of the group and I try to help Francesco, Enrico and Beatrice to organize Kerning. We’ll have a great line-up of speakers in June so I really suggest everybody to hurry-up and buy a ticket before it’s too late! The conference will take place in Faenza, as usual. It’s a wonderful mix you can’t miss: a cozy place, a great line-up made of international speakers, sunny days, food & drinks. What do you want more?

Who’s on the team, what are their roles and why do you love them?

If we talk about my job, I’m a freelance designer so I mainly work alone. Or with different teams, it depends on the project. But I would like to talk some more about the team that organizes Kerning conference! Francesco, Enrico and Beatrice were among the main organizers also for the first edition of Kerning. It’s funny to work with them. It’s not that easy, you know, to organize an international conference but they succeed in keeping Kerning alive. This will be the 7th edition, and I think that 7 years are a great milestone for a small conference. We don’t have in fact a big budget and big sponsors, but we always tried to offer an interesting line-up of speakers, with some workshops — from letterpress printing to designing typefaces, through calligraphy — during the two days before the conference.

Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

I’m been working on some branding projects right now. I hope I’ll be able to balance family and job so that I can keep working on more projects like these. Branding projects are the ones I like more. And I hope I will be able to keep contributing to communication projects about some social issues that really interest me.

2019 for you in a sentence.

There’s a quote I really like by Satya Nadella. I think we should try to stay true to this phrase to push our 2019 above usual boundaries. It has really the power to transform the way we work, and live: “Listen more, talk less and be decisive when the time comes”.

Website: ilpiac.com

Instagram: @mauriziopiacenza

Twitter: @ilpiac

For tickets and to check out all the amazing speakers this year, jump onto the Kerning Conference website: 2019.kerning.it

Follow Kerning Conference on Instagram & Twitter to keep up to date with all the goss too!

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