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Little words with Gianfranco Setzu


Gianfranco Setzu works as a freelance designer in different creative fields such as graphic and product design, illustration and communication, creative direction, corporate identity design.


Do you remember a special gift you received when you were a child? I was crazy for books, especially illustrated, the first: “The Musicians of Bremen!” I haven’t really changed much since then.

What was the most beautiful holiday you had when you were a child? When I was child my father worked in Germany, in Esslingen, where I grew up to 6 years. Every summer the whole family went on holidays in Sardinia, and we stayed there for one or two months. All that time free in the open air. Today I live in Sardinia.

What was your favourite toy? SMOOKIE a soft-toy lion cub, brown in colour and with buttons for eyes. Smookie has been sleeping with me for years. Now I keep it in a wardrobe, in my room… Just in case..!


Were you good at school? I was pretty good at it.

Were you neat or messy? Being tidy has always been a necessity. I always had to keep my things in check, otherwise my stuff would have been at the mercy of my three younger siblings.

Were you lively or thoughtful? Thoughtful, but with liveliness!


What did you use to draw ? Everything, on anything and continually. It was a frenzy. On the walls … on pavements … always …. My favorite subjects were animals and houses, and above all fictional characters I made up. I had books and old diaries where I drew, cut and glued. Then I kept these books religiously safe.


What did you want to become in the future? A magician. I used the cloak of an old Zorro costume, and will make paper hats with a double bottom, from which rabbits and confetti would spring out. I kept that magic “dress” for a long time!

What was your favourite item of clothing , the one you always wanted to wear? Shorts.


Did you prefer cowboys or Indians? Indians! When we returned from Germany to Sardinia, I recall building sioux huts and tree houses, as well as endless games of exploring the wild open spaces. Once I had seen on TV that Indians would put a hear on a train rail to guess if one wasn’t far, thus I will do the same on the road asphalt … not with great results.

Which was the worst prank you played or suffered? I was bullied, but I was unable to retaliate …


What was your recurring whim? No one could take a picture of me. It was impossible for me to sit still, alone, for a photo. I needed to have someone else close by… Who knows, perhaps the unconscious fear that the camera could steal my soul!

How did you first graze your knee ? In Germany sliding on a cement handrail, that my sister and I kept on pretending it was a park-slide …


What was the food you used to hate most? Always been tortellini. Especially supermarket/packaged ones. The combination of meat and cheese stuffing always gave me nausea. But not long ago in Bologna I ate the authentic ones, and I changed my mind!

What was the first lie you told? “It wasn’t me!” with 4 brothers you’ve gotta defend yourself!

Do you remember a dirty word you used to say? “Obnoxious” And for that I got a good scolding from the priest …


If you could go back in time to when you were a child, what modern game would you like to have fun with? Baby balls pool. Even today when I see one an insane desire to dive into it takes over me.

What game do you play ( would like to play ) with your son? To disassemble objects and putting them back together again. As a child I loved i. I wonder if he’d like that too!

What cartoon or movie would you like to see (have seen ) with your son? “My neighbour Totoro” from Myiazaki, poetic and imaginative.


Which book did you give him ( would you like to give to him)? “Fairy tales and legends ” by Grazia Deledda along with “Japanese Fairy Tales”. Books that I loved to read, stories filled with humour and poetry, with a never boring, funny and irreverent point of view.

Which item would you like to leave to your child ? An “Artek E60″ stool. As something that can be used from a child to a grown up man. An historic piece of design that would remember him of his father’s passion for design. A timeless object .

In your opinion, what is missing today in the world of children ? Ingenuity

Do you have a project for the little ones in mind or have you already carried out one for them? Despite my targeted audience are adults, many of my projects, especially if playful and fun, are adored by children. in the past I worked several times with kids, always in creative fields. I would love to have the opportunity to create more projects just for them!



Concept and text by Margherita Pincioni

Filed under Graphics


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