Following the change in ownership for the well–known collector's card company, which he had founded together with his brothers, Franco Cosimo Panini set up the publishing house that bears his name in 1989. The name, Panini, had always been associated in people's minds with the company's collector's card albums. This company – a major player worldwide in this sector – started out in 1960 with its first historic collection of footballer cards. Over the years, with the Panini brothers – Giuseppe, Benito, Umberto and Franco Cosimo – at the helm, Panini Figurine became the leading company worldwide within this sector, producing and distributing albums covering an endless range of fields of interest (history, geography, science, show business, sport, TV and animated cartoon films). However, already by the end of the 1970's, Panini's activities were moving into other fields. Animated by a passion for the art and for publishing, Franco Cosimo Panini started up a Books Division, specialised in historical and arts publications.
1989 represents a turning point. The Panini brothers sold the collector's card company, and Franco Cosimo took over its Books Division, to found a new publishing house – Franco Cosimo Panini Editore. The house's logo (inspired by the imprint or mark of Domenico Rococciolo, Modena's historic pioneer printer) reflects Franco Cosimo's love of antiquarian books (he was keen collector) and also his attachment to his home town, Modena, where the publishing house is based.
Within the art books sector (the publishing house's core business), Franco Cosimo Panini started up two ambitious projects which are of enormous interest, both scientifically and in cultural terms. Facsimile editions of immensely valuable illuminated manuscripts have been published (the first project was a bible, the Bibbia di Borso d'Este). However, we should also note the "Mirabilia Italiæ" series (the fullest and most exhaustive series of its kind ever published, dedicated to the major works making up Italy's artistic heritage). Thanks to these projects, Franco Cosimo Panini Editore received the Premio alla Cultura award for 2002. The award is an initiative of the office of Italy's Prime Minister. Noteworthy, too, among our many publications dedicated to the arts and to history, is the more recent series (produced with the imprimatur of Nobel Prize–winning playwright, Dario Fo) dedicated to Italy's great painters. The publications were inspired by Fo's theatrical history of art lessons.
Comix is the brainchild of Franco Cosimo's daughter, Laura, who, in the meantime, had joined her father at the helm of the company. Comix, which started up in 1992, was a light–hearted comic periodical which served as a springboard for the highly successful careers of such personalities as Fabio Fazio, Luciana Littizzetto, Fabio De Luigi and Daniele Luttazzi. This enormously successful tabloid publication spawned further projects – a series of books whose common theme was humour, and, in 1994, the Comix school agenda. The agenda then became the publishing house's most popular product. With a print run of more than 1,300,000 diaries, Comix is Italy's biggest selling school agenda.
Franco Cosimo Panini acquired the company, Malipiero, based in Ozzano Emilia, in the province of Bologna. Malipiero was a well–known name both in the publishing sector for children and youth market, and in the stationer's and bookshops field. Franco Panini Scuola was founded as a result of this move, specialising in the production and distribution of paper products for students, accessories for free time use, gadgets and gift ideas. Franco Panini Scuola's portfolio includes more than twenty leading brands within the domestic or global marketplaces. Some are proprietary and others are subject to licence agreement. With its Franco Panini Scuola brand, the publishing house has achieved a leadership position within this segment, thanks above all to its school diaries and agendas.
The Malipiero take–over also led to involvement in the children's publishing sector, first through the Franco Panini Ragazzi brand and then as Franco Cosimo Panini Editore. The company teamed up with Altan in 1994. Altan is the creator of the stories of one of the most popular of all characters among the very young – Pimpa. Another character, Giulio Coniglio, made his debut in 2001 and was immediately greeted with extraordinary enthusiasm. Giulio Coniglio was created by Nicoletta Costa. Other publications and series were added to our catalogue, dedicated to the 0–8 age range, including our pop–up books and the acclaimed "Zerotre" products line.
Following the death of Franco Cosimo Panini (2007), his daughter, Laura stepped in as head of the publishing house. She had been managing the company with her father for many years. The company's top management team also includes Laura's brother, Luca (appointed Chief Executive in 2012), and sisters Silvia, Maria Teresa and Lucia.