Tempting to describe this as our travel issue, as we cover a lot of ground, chronologically and geographically. And make some fascinating discoveries along our typographic timeline. We start in the 1950s, in the US, where Steven Heller proposes the quality American paperback cover as the ‘wellspring of innovative modern design’.
Caroline Archer provides our ticket to the Parisian Underground. Underground in a physical and literal sense, we find a unique art gallery that has been growing for 400 years. Then off to Lebanon, to share the experience of Huda Smitshuizen AbiFarès, as she guides her students towards an overdue new approach to Arabic type design.
Rob Banham’s detailed analysis of the astounding, early colour printing achievements of Giles Balne, takes us back to England in the 1830s, where we find the earliest examples of theposter site, and discover the innovative methods of a previously unsung craftsman printer.
Rob Banham’s detailed analysis of the astounding, early colour printing achievements of Giles Balne, takes us back to England in the 1830s, where we find the earliest examples of the poster site, and discover the innovative methods of a previously unsung craftsman printer. Not averse to a bit of virtual time travel, we can share the conversation between Gérard Mermoz and Bruce Mau, as they contemplate the future nature of the book, with a mounting excitement fuelled by coffee and typographic enthusiasm.
Finally, John McMillan, the Education Officer of the International Society of Typographic Designers, notches up a few air miles as he seeks to expand the reach of the society’s student awards scheme, and shows us some of the results. Long distances, lots to find, and all without leaving our typographic armchair.
Back in high school during the late 60s existentialism fed a ravenous adolescent appetite for self-indulgent despair, and the covers of two angst-ridden paperback books, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre and The Stranger by Albert Camus, did for me what religious iconography triggers in devotees. Only rather than spiritual uplift each cover made me melancholic. Book covers should, of course, create an intellectual bond with a reader, but rarely do they tap as deeply into a psyche as these did…
Paris is in the international super-league when it comes to galleries. For those interested in the history of art the Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and the Pompidou Centre are a must, and whilst the galleries of St-Germain-des-Prés prefer avant-garde art of the post-war era, more innovative contemporary work can be found in the Marais, and young artists are premiered in the showrooms around the Bastille. These are the known and acknowledged art spaces of the French capital. However, there is another gallery in Paris that is both hidden and unrecognised, which is home to a collection of art so vast that it defies estimating, so various that it resists categorizing, whose oldest exhibit was created in the 17th century and whose newest work was made only yesterday.
This secret gallery can be found in the complex network of passages that wind their way through 285 kilometres of abandoned quarries that lie below the streets of Paris. These quarries were mined for the stone that was used to build the French capital and after five centuries of extensive and haphazard excavating they were abandoned. For the past 300 years these quarries have been out of bounds to all apart from the Inspection Générale des Carrières, which was established to investigate, map and make safe the underground of Paris…
©2003 Bradbourne Publishing Ltd.