This issue opens and closes within the macro-typographic area of signs. Arnold Schwartzman resents some of his personal photographic record, created partly as a bulwark against rapid erosion of the craft of signmaking, while Quentin Newark reviews pieces commissioned and manufactured by Wood and Wood, which prove that pockets of the skill of making still exist.
Otl Aicher’s significant contribution to graphic is ouotlined from the very personal perspective of ex-colleague Ian McLaren, and Abram Games’ powerful designs are given a fresh perspective by Tony Richards.
Blackletter moves us away from our typographic norm; its passing revival simultaneously mourned and celebrated by calligrapher Paul Shaw. And Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares presents her case for a more serious and energetic approach to the creation of new Arabic typefaces.
A stimulating balance of the old and the new, with our new dictionary of type designers adding to an unusually wide range for reference and, hopefully, enjoyable reading.
An exhibition commemorating the work of Otl Aicher was held in the Stadthaus Ulm, between 23 November 1997 and 25 January 1998. It was something of a revelation for me. Having been a student at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm (HfG) while he taught there, and later worked closely with him on the corporate identity of the Munich Olympics, I felt that I knew Aicher and his work. This beautifully presented exhibition demonstrated otherwise. Prior to my perception of Aicher was that of a versatile and visionary designer, who had contributed much to the status of the design proffesion in Germany and Europe. In particular I associated Aicher with some of the principal corporate identity programmes in Germany; including Braun, Lufthansa, Erco, the Munich Olympics, and numerous other less well known to a British audience.
This remains the case, but I had not appreciated the extent and range of Aicher’s versatility. In addition to his formative work on corporate identity design, graphic design and photography; I was unprepared for the extent to which Aicher’s polemics were manifested in an extenisve series of publications. The catalogue of the exhibition lists 21 citations in his name. These range from collected essays and articles such as the world as design; to major didactic works such as typographie, his definitive statement on typographic design. I was familiar with several books and exhibitions which he had initiated and co-authored; often as both a catalytic project proposer, such as the two books produced for Lufthansa comprising aerial photographs by Aicher with accompanying texts by Rudolf Sass but also his more provocative initiatives such as kritik am auto – as the name implies a critique of automotive design…
©1998 Bradbourne Publishing Ltd.