We continue to explore the relationship between typographic and photographic composition, finding, in Kerry Purcell’s history of Camera, an inbuilt story of the high quality print production also close to our hearts.
Sigi Odermatt gives us a personal insight to Max Huber, an influential designer who stands next to Müller-Brockmann, Vivarelli and Lohse in the early Swiss avant-garde.
Meanwhile Caroline Archer reveals both the past triumphs and current plight of the Imprimerie Nationale, Paris, home to the historic types at the heart of our typographic heritage.
Steve Heller continues to remind us of the unsung typographic heroes, in this case Erik Nitsche, whose designs for science books stand as benchmark examples for the genre.
And David Jury chronicles a time when enterprising printers were the experimental innovators, long before ‘surf culture’.
Those inspired to learn more about typographers like Huber can find much more in our typographic lexicon. In this issue we provide an update, adding to the comprehensive nature of Baseline’s unique resource.
A Preamble. This sketchbook, dated 1891 (illustrated) contains work by Walter Bunn: a young, keenly aware and ambitious compositor working for a printing company in Norwich. The first few pages contain pen and ink drawings and watercolour sketches, but these soon give way to articulate renderings of hypothetical jobbing work, including a considerable number of intricately drawn business cards – all for ‘Walter Bunn’. The sketchbook ends with a flourish: a series of pages which are rather more complex, more confident, using type in an exuberant, exploratory and inventive manner. Walter Bunn, presumably of his own volition, was doing exactly what any 21st century student of graphic design should be encouraged to do.
Printing apprentices were not, generally, encouraged to think of their ‘trade’ as a creative outlet, and so a sketchbook of ideas that have no immediate purpose is a rare document indeed. Yet Bunn’s sketchbook clearly illustrates how a minority of printers in the UK were imagining their trade (or ‘profession’) could develop. After all, the nature of commerce was changing fast and graphic communication suddenly offered opportunities for creative rather than rule-governed solutions. The independence of spirit promoted in the bi-monthly magazine The British Printer and the annual The Printers’ International Specimen Exchange suggested a bright and exciting future for the print trade, if it could only adapt to the creative needs of the commercial sector…
©2004 Bradbourne Publishing Ltd.