Eye, the international review of graphic design, is a quarterly printed magazine about graphic design and visual culture. What makes Jan Tschichold so interesting is not his theories but his practice. His circumstances as a young typographical radical in s Germany also led him from an exhilarating artistic milieu to persecution and arrest in the early days of the Nazis, and eventually to exile in conservative Switzerland. Although he is best known in the English-speaking world for his reform of Penguin Books in , the other pole of his fame is as chief evangelist for the New Typography, given concrete form in his book Die Neue Typographie. The detailed quotes and wide research that this book exhibit make it clear how pig-headed and dogmatic the young Tschichold could be, even when he was trying to be completely practical; when he got a little older in his thirties!
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First English edition. Black cloth stamped in silver and red. Printed dust jacket. Purple endpapers. White jacket lightly rubbed and worn along top edge, with a tiny closed tear and a small chip to spine crown. Interior unmarked and clean. A nearly fine copy in a very good or better dust jacket. One of the better copies we have handled.
Ruari Mclean's translation of Tschichold's Typographische Gestaltung from Letterpress by T. Bound by T. Asymmetric typography is used in the majority of modern visual communication media - yet this 'classic', which more than any other book has influenced modern typographic design, has never before been translated.
The author discusses in detail the application of asymmetric design to different printing methods such as gravure, offset and letterpress. There are also detailed chapters on typographic refinements concerning type setting, grouping, line endings; tables, colour and paper. In addition each chapter is illustrated with practical examples printed in several colours. No English translation of any of his books had yet appeared; I had translated his little book on how to draw layouts, Typografische Entwurfstechnik, , of only 24 pages, because I thought it so useful, but had never found a publisher for it.
It was eventually published as How to Draw Layouts in a limited edition of copies by Merchiston Publishing, of Napier University in Edinburgh, in Now he asked me to translate his Typographische Gestaltung Typographic Design which had been published in Basle in It was a more measured and persuasive account of his views than his first and epoch-making Die neue Typographie of This proposed new translation was to be really a new edition: Jan wanted to omit some passages which he considered had been of interest only to Swiss and German readers, and he had also found several new and better illustrations.
We called the new version Asymmetric Typography, and it was published, i. His seeming rejection of the ideas put forward in this present book caused a turbulence among designers that has yet to settle. How could he? And how could he then do those classical solutions so maddeningly well? I now happen to be both for which I will remain eternally grateful. Since I have lived in Basle, Switzerland.
In the very first years I tried to develop what I had called Die neue Typographie and wrote another textbook, Typographische Gestaltung in which is much more prudent than Die neue Typographie and still a useful book! Which typefaces are good and what arrangement is the most practicable? Good typography has to be perfectly legible and is, as such, the result of intelligent planning. The classical typefaces such as Garamond, Janson, Baskerville and Bell are undoubtedly the most legible.
Sans serif is good for certain cases of emphasis, but is used to the point of abuse today. The occasions for using sans serif are as rare as those for wearing obtrusive decorations.
In practice this means that the typographer is free to group his text matter with regard to its message and without regard to symmetry; he is recommended to create the desired emphasis and at the same time enlivening visual contrasts, by using different weights of the same type-face, or by mixing types - always with meticulous care in line and letter spacing; in jobbing work he should group his material so that the blank space of the page is positive and the text elements are so related to it and to one another that the result is a living entity, comparable to an abstract painting.
He can enrich his design by the expressive use of rules, tints, arrows or circles, or incorporate photography or photomontage; the use of oblique setting is mentioned, but recommended sparingly. The book includes a historical section, and another on abstract painting of the twenties. It is in fact a comprehensive and practical exposition of a coherent and fully evolved typographic style which is undoubtedly of continuing value to modern designers. It is also a historic document of crucial importance in the history of twentieth-century typography.
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Asymmetric Typography by Jan Tschichold
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