When we took over publication of Baseline, more than 10 years ago, we promised no radical departures, rather a continued evolution of this popular journal, attempting to put ideas and information about type and typography at the heart of our efforts. A much-valued group of collaborators and friends have helped to keep us on the right track.
Here, in issue 50, David Jury presents yet more fascinating and thoroughly-researched material, this time about writing implements, (part of calligraphy’s heady journey from bezels to beziers).
Mr Baskerville looms large over the shoulders of Birmingham’s new typographic turks, Caroline Archer proposes, reminding us of that city’s claims to the top of the urban typographic league; while Steven Heller shows how PhotoShop, in the right hands, can imbue type with real Daliesque characteristics.
Kerry William Purcell helps us to get inside the history of Alphabet and Image tracing its twists and turns and the motivations of its publishers. Meanwhile, we stop for an indulgent moment to examine our own state of play, with today’s snapshot of our typographic world.
Ideas, research, scoops and frequently sensational images arrive in Baseline, courtesy of a supportive cohort of contributors and friends. We couldn’t have done 50 without you. Onwards and outwards.
In the mid-1990s the macabre narrative photomontages, by Greek-born illustrator Viktor Koen, were somewhat reminiscent of the Dadaists Raoul Hausmann and John Heartfield – overlaid with a kind of cheesy science fiction veneer. The work was ostensibly derivative, even clichéd. The excessive monstrous heads and dislocated limbs, gratuitously grafted onto surreal-looking surgical apparatus (among his favourite raw visual materials), were taxing on the eyes. And yet his relentless fixation with haunting dreamscapes was also curiously compelling and not to be ignored. Although interpretations of the subconscious are fairly common in early modern art, Koen’s nuanced, elegiac nightmares promised something other than sensationalist style. In fact, over time, as his visual lexicon developed, he exchanged trite surrealist tropes for inventive pictorial tableaux, and eventually became one of the most sought after conceptual editorial illustrators working in the United States today…
Baseline’s editors – Mike Daines and Hans Dieter Reichert – mark issue 50 with personal views of the current state of the world of type and typography. Friends and contributors join to add greater perspective.
Over ten years ago, our typographic world was in a state of flux. In professional practice there was much debate about the effects of technology on ‘quality’. Heated arguments occurred about quality of typography, of type design, and, in education, the initial impacts of the student numbers game were being felt – with concerns amongst those who care about the domination of process over creativity, and its inevitable feedthrough to the typographic profession.
The debate (originally reflected in Baseline’s ‘Opinion’ pieces (18–24), is more muted now, but the issues remain. Among Baseline’s articles on typography’s history and personalities, leading contributors have helped us to plot the continuing evolution ofour subject, the related technologies, artistic and craft influences, and typographic education…
©2006 Bradbourne Publishing Ltd.