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Baseline Cover Issue 16


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Cover: Computer Art, lettershapes, by Håjime Tachibana


Editorial Chris Grey &
Domenic Lippa

For some time Baseline has harboured an ambition to produce an issue where Japanese typographics could be our main theme. Now, thanks to ‘our man in Japan’, Rodney Mylius, we are able to present dazzling cross-section of what’s new and what’s good in Japanese graphics.

Rodney has interviewed a designer, Hajime Tachibana, for whom he predicts superstar status on the international typographic stage. It should probably come as no surprise that a truly original typographic artist should emerge from Japan. Even to untrained Western eyes isn’t there something more of pure Japanese calligraphy? There is no doubt that in the mixture of art, letterforms and computing, which we find in Tachibana’s work, and in the graphics of others, such as Toshifuni Kawahara and his ‘Dancing Alphabets’, we are seeing skills and originality which can only refresh our jaded Western typographic palettes.

For those seekers after a deeper education about graphics in Japan, our Desert Island Type feature brings not only the selections of a complete university department, (Musashino in Tokyo), but an accompanying brief history of Japanese letterforms.

Elsewhere we offer an illustrated guide to the (Latin) display type of the twentieth century, type in film titles and the work of the leading New York designers Drentell Doyle. So, a chance to compare the East and the West typographically, and we suspect, a view of some of the design from Japan which will radically influence aspiring ‘typographic artists’, both oriental and occidental.

Chris Grey &
Domenic Lippa

Reviews Editorial team
Dancing Alphabet Editorial team
Hajime Tachibana Editorial team
View Kanzaki magazine Rodney Mylius
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Amongst the printed material sent to us from Japan View Kanzaki magazine, published by the Kanzaki Paper Company, caught our attention through its unusual and striking contents and layout.

Ichio Ogura, Chief editor of View Kanzaki, gave us some background information: ‘The publisher, the Kanzaki Paper Company, is the number one company in the field of coated paper in Japan…

Rodney Mylius

Desert Island Type – Musahino Art University Prof. Yoshiro Goto
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In previous editions of Baseline we have always asked interested individuals to select their favourite typography to take with them to our mythical desert island. This time around, however, we asked a whole university to make a selection! Assistant Professor Yoshiro Gotoh and the staff at the Poster division of Museum-Library of Musashino Art University (MAU) in Tokyo, Japan, have selected their favourite works from the university’s own collection. We are also taking this opportunity to explain briefly the history of the Japanese poster and the development of printing and typography in Japan…

Prof. Yoshiro Goto

Display type – the 40 year boom Mike Daines
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Display types, as the description suggests, are designed to catch the eye. They are also there to reflect a mood, to lend a message: not just emphasis but those subtle overtones, or undertones for modern communication.

This category of type designs is frequently called ‘headline faces’, but although this accurately reflects the limited range of point sizes in which such alphabets really work, it has too narrow an implication for the marvellous range of fat faces, decorated types, ultra condensed and script faces available to the typographer…

Mike Daines

Film Types Mike Daines
A quick world tour for Typos (Street signs in London) Darrell Ireland
Idiosyncracy tamed – (Citroën promotion) Giles Calver
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In 1956 when Citroën launched the DS19 the public were captivated by the car’s radical styling and technical specification. In the first day of the Paris show no fewer than 12,000 orders had been taken. Citroën, true to its reputation for innovation, had come up with a worthy successor to the Traction Avant, a car noted for its graceful lines and the amalgamation of many new features.

A look at the Citroën line-up in 1956 shows a manufacturer diversifying into different models, each as idiosyncratic as the other. A review of Citroën’s approach to branding also shows diversity in its approach to the design of not only its own corporate logotype but in the development of type styles to brand each model.

Citroën’s typography in its promotional literature shows keen sense of design, prompted no doubt by André Citroën’s own inimitable style of public relations and sales promotion. Typographic design applied to the early models first developed seriously with the advent of the DS and the model line-ups in the ‘60s and ‘70s…

Giles Calver

Drenttel Doyle Partners Peter Hall
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It seems hard to believe for a newcomer to the city of noise, neon, film crews, going-out-of-business sales, porn movies, treacherous cab rides, fast food, coffee and fast talking; but New York is sill a city of books. Books are everywhere: piled like abandoned bricks in secondhand bookstores, nestled among stolen housewares in streets peddlers’ gutter displays, and stacked precariously on wobbly sidewalk trestle tables. Public libraries are packed, and discount bookstores are swarming with browsers. In the city of distractions, the printed word is still surprisingly sacred…

Peter Hall

Reviews Editorial team

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