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Baseline Cover Issue 13


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Cover: Manuale Tipografico, 1818, Volume Primo, Giambattista Bodoni


Editorial Editorial team

The number of seminars, conferences and other events about typography is steadily on the increase. Roger Black says, in his preview of the TYPE ’90 conference, that by the year 2000 everyone will have a favourite typeface. Matthew Carter at a recent lecture in London, told is audience that he expected soon to realise his ambition to find a consumer form with a box: ‘I like the type/I don’t like the type. Delete where applicable’.

As type is promoted more heavily than ever before, the user of type is encouraged to do his own typesetting and even to design and make his own fonts, and education in typography takes place in the general office, then we may well be seeing that dawn of the age of type for everyman.

Those of us involved in type mix an enthusiasm about its new-found accessibility with qualms about the impact of the democratisation of type on its overall quality. As far as typographic involvement is concerned, the creativity is not resident in the hardware or software package. To be successful requires the same level of design awareness and attention to detail as that needed before the advent of desktop typography.

These are the principles which will protect the standards of typography. Baseline aims to encourage the maintenance of these standards by creating a forum where good typography is shown and discussed. We welcome comment on the work which is reviewed and presented and hope that those who use new, or ‘old’ technology, who innovate or who maintain traditional typographic standards will send us their work so that we can expand our typographical gallery.

Editorial team

New work Editorial team
Bloomingdale’s Editorial team
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Over the last few years we have seen the re-emergence of America as the leading light in the area of graphic design and typography. Even within our own publication some of our own publication some of our most illustrating features have been concerned with the work of America’s Black Sparrow Press, (Baseline 12), M and Co and Emigré (Baseline 11).

A less precious attitude to type, combined with a willingness to experiment in both new and clichéd styles demonstrates the positive values of strong and emotive typography. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than the work of New York based department store Bloomingdale’s.

For over hundred years Bloomingdale’s has been at the leading edge of retailing in the USA, if not the world. From humble origins specialising in women’s accessories, the store has always been quick to change to suit the unpredictable world of fashion.

By 1961 the store was known internationally. In that year Bloomingdale’s introduced the first ‘designer shopping bag’ by commissioning the artist Joseph Linigstein to create a bag for the ‘Espirt de France’ promotion. It showed antique French tariff cards in red, black and white. Since then the bags have become collectors’ items the world over, being recognisable instantly as ‘Bloomingdale’s’ even without their logo…

Editorial team

Hebrew typography Daniel Goldberg
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Some thirty years after Gutenberg established his printing press in Mainz the first dated Hebrew book was published. Most of the early Hebrew books were printed in Italy followed by Spain and Portugal. In fact, the Pentateuch, was the first Hebrew book ever to be printed in Portugal.

The written or printed word has always been central to the Jewish culture and religion, many early printers referred to the art of printing as holy work. The older and traditional religious works on these pages are wonderful examples of form following function, these books were certainly not produced only for their aesthetic value. The many typographic problems posed by complex literary and intellectual inter-relations between separate texts that need to co-exist on the same page have rendered solutions of outstanding creativity and beauty…

Daniel Goldberg

The SPY–o–matic – a history of SPY design Elissa Schappell
Vogue Italia Jeremy Leslie
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Over the last few years Italian Vogue has been one of the most visually stunning magazines throughout Europe. The early work of its former Art Director Fabian Baron, whose minimalist layouts are now parodied throughout the world, left to join Interview Magazine in New York. However the association was far from successful and Baron left after just six issues. Baseline asked Jeremy Leslie, former designer of the UK magazine Blitz to question why Vogue Italia has been such an influence…

Jeremy Leslie

Bodoni Mike Daines
Vaughan Oliver Editorial team
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Since its formation in 1980 the independent record label 4AD has been consistently putting out music which reflects the enthusiasm of its founder, Ivo Watts-Russell. For the same period of time Vaughan Oliver has been responsible for almost all the sleeves and material, and has himself forged a unique style within British design. It was while studying Graphic Design at Newcastle Polytechnic under artist Terry Dowling that Oliver started developing a more personal way of working. Rather than concentrating on traditional design exercises he pursued a far more illustrative route, thinking type was something that cluttered the imagery. It was only when exposed to the Dadaist, Constructivist and Bauhaus typographers that he became aware of the potential of type…

Editorial team

The Oxford English Dictionary Prof. Paul Luna
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The Oxford English Dictionary is unique typographic exercise, difficult to match in scale and complexity. The Second Edition of the Dictionary was completed in 1989, prompting Baseline to contact the Dictionary’s designer, Paul Luna, and discuss the history of the ‘OED’…

Prof. Paul Luna

A dearth of typography Prof. Malcolm Garrett
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Hands up who’ never used a Letragraphica typeface. Ok hands up who’s never used Letraset. I thought so. None of you can honestly make that claim. And you call yourselves designers. Don’t you realise you have all contributed to the mass deterioration of basic typographic standards?
Shame on you.

Remember the furore caused amongst ‘typographers’ and ‘designers’ back in the early sixties when Letraset first introduced its system of rub-down lettering? How it spelled the end of design, now that just anyone could do it? The experts spoke of the purity of hot-metal; the years spent fine tuning those trained eyes in order to space type properly; the inherent taste of the typographer to differentiate between the classic and the vulgar. The Horror.

All those unwritten rules destined to be cast aside…

Prof. Malcolm Garrett

Oliver Harrison Editorial team
Desert Island type – Sir Terence Conran Editorial team
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Terence Conran’s belief in well made, well designed and affordable products has made him one of the most influential people the design industry has known. His business interests range from the Conran Design Group, Conran Roche, the Conran Shop and writing for Conran Octopus, to the Michelin Building and Butler’s Warf. For this issue of Baseline, Terrance has chosen items that remind him of the happiest times of his life…

Editorial team

Book page Editorial team

©1990 Published by Esselte Letraset Ltd.