Louise Fili’s impact on the design world can be traced back to the 1980s, when she made a significant contribution to book cover design as the art director for Pantheon Books. She created nearly 2000 iconic book jackets during her tenure.

In 1989, Fili took her design skills to new heights by founding her own graphic design studio, Louise Fili Ltd. She then expanded her portfolio to include restaurant and food packaging design. Fili’s distinctive and elegant typography, often hand-drawn, quickly became associated with high-profile brands like Sarabeth’s, Bella Cucina, Jean-Georges, and Good Housekeeping.

Fili’s exceptional typographic skills are showcased in both print and digital mediums, making her advertising and marketing campaigns a global success. Her first monograph, “Elegantissima,” highlights her impressive career of almost four decades and provides valuable insights for graphic design enthusiasts, students, and professionals. The book explores her unique approach, dedication to preserving vintage aesthetics, and her enduring love for all things Italian.

Italian Passion: Louise Fili’s Unique Approach to Design

Her lavish and elegant typography, often hand-drawn, helps advertise and market such well-known brands as Sarabeth’s, Bella Cucina, Jean-Georges, and Good Housekeeping, among many others. Known for her intense attention to detail, her fresh reinterpretation of vintage sources, and her passion for all things Italian, Fili has won numerous awards.

Elegantissima, the first monograph on her work, covers the breadth of her nearly forty-year design career and is a must-have for graphic design students and professionals, as well as anyone interested in advertising, food, restaurants, Italy, and books.

Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili
Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili


“When it comes to food, you probably don’t know Louise Fili’s name but you may very well recognize her work. If you’ve ever dined at The Mermaid Inn, Back Forty, or Artisanal in New York City, eaten Tate’s Bake Shop’s cookies, spread some of American Spoon’s jam on bread or poured a glass of Bartlett Winery’s wild blueberry wine, you’ve seen Fili’s designs. Graphic designers are sure to appreciate this book–not only for Fili’s professional legacy but also for its historical point of view.” – Epicurious.com

“Sumptuous logos, books, menus, and packaging abound, but the unexpected treat comes in the form of case studies: sketches, inspirations, and design process. Not to be missed.” – Communication Arts“While this book is more monograph than a how-to, it offers the reader a cogent reason for why the work is made, therefore it serves as an inspirational and aspirational guide.” – Omnivoracious.

“The 256-page monograph is a steal at $40 and a must for package designers and both print and digital typographers.” – InteriorDesign.com

“Long known as something of a revolutionary in the field of book-jacket design, Fili took her distinctive and elegant old-world style to the food packaging industry in 1989. There she brought a whole new level of sophistication to everything from candy bar wrappers to wine bottles-and you can find many of them here.” – Entertainment Weekly.

“Elegantissima is evidence of (Fili’s) success. The monograph is filled with case studies, anecdotes, and luscious spreads from an extraordinary career’s worth of design. Most of the book will make you hungry, or at least move up your plans to go to Europe. Bellissima!” – Imprint.

“Appropriately lavish and stunning, Elegantissima is the perfect showcase of Fili’s intricate, arresting, and always elegant work.” – Brain Pickings.

“An image-heavy book that will make typing and design nerds drool.” – Bust Magazine.

About the Author

Louise Fili is the respected head of Louise Fili Ltd, an established New York-based design studio that specializes in branding for food packaging and restaurants. Throughout her 11-year tenure as the art director of Pantheon Books, she created nearly 2000 book jackets, which earned her a place in the Art Directors Hall of Fame and two prestigious lifetime achievement awards from the AIGA and the Type Directors Club.

Fili is not only known for her remarkable design career, but she is also a prolific author. Some of her notable works include “Elegantissima,” “Grafica della Strada,” and “Graphique de la Rue.” In collaboration with her husband, design historian Steven Heller, she has co-authored and designed celebrated publications such as “Italianissimo” and “The Cognoscenti’s Guide to Florence.” Together, they have explored various design movements in books like “Italian Art Deco,” “British Modern,” “Dutch Moderne,” “Streamline,” “French Modern,” “Deco España,” “German Modern,” “Deco Type,” “Design Connoisseur,” “Counter Culture,” “Typology,” “Stylepedia,” “Euro Deco,” “Scripts,” “Shadow Type,” “Stencil Type,” and “Slab Serif Type.” Fili’s creative vision also extends to stationery, with her designs for Perfetto, Tutti Frutti, and Brillante pencils captivating artists and enthusiasts alike.

“Elegantissima: Louise Fili” Monograph: A Tribute to Design Excellence

The monograph “Elegantissima: Louise Fili – Redefining Design and Typography” is a fitting tribute to Fili’s exceptional skill and lasting influence on the design world. This book is a source of motivation not just for industry professionals but also for anyone with an interest in advertising, food, restaurants, Italy, and the art of typography. Fili’s contributions will continue to have a profound impact on the design industry for years to come, leaving an indelible impression on the field.

Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili. Hardcover: 256 pages. Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 9.1.2012 edition (September 5, 2012).

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