Typographic creativity abounds in this issue, from book design, through posters, to the intellectual challenge of the abstract symbol.
Kirsten Schneider plots Jan Tschichold’s work for the ‘Bücherkreis’, an object lesson in book design evolution; while the background to the posters, at another brilliant Italian graphic art exhibition at London’s Estorick Collection, is described by Christopher Adams.
Stunning book covers by letterer Hans Tisdall feature in Michael Harvey’s article about this very ‘European’ designer and illustrator. In contrast Steven Heller shines a welcome spotlight on the relatively unsung (and very French) typographic innovator Robert Massin, with his ‘type-as-voice’.
On to symbols: a scholarly exposition from Messrs Jury and Chizlett includes the delightfully named ‘Lovers’ Communication System’, while Henrike Sandner provides a valuable insight to the symbolic language of Jo Stankowski. Not an emoticon in sight.
A few years ago, while serving on the nomination committee for The Art Director’s Club of New York Hall of Fame I was surprised when my venerable associates (Hall of Fame laureates all) failed to show interest in the nomination of French designer, Robert Massin. Admittedly, I was not familiar with his complete oeuvre but I do own two books that put Massin on the US, British, and French (design) maps. And I felt that even if he had not done anything else during his extended career as typographer, art director, and editor these opuses should ensure his place in any designer pantheon…
…Massin’s graphic interpretation was conceptually in sync with Ionesco’s existential satire of language and logic, but technically speaking it was a big mess. Every element was not only arduously composed and pasted-up (remember the days of glue and photo-mechanicals?), it was produced in three different versions for the French, English and American editions. Even more extraordinary, was the way in which Massin distorted the type to distinguish soft and loud conversation. He stretched the text (which today is a simple keyboard operation) by transferring the type onto soft rubber – using three dozen condoms, to be exact – which he pulled and tugged to bend and warp then photographed the result as line art…
©2002 Bradbourne Publishing Ltd.