Spring 2009

Tschichold: contention and celebrity [EXTRACT]

Jan Tschichold: Master Typographer: His Life, Work and Legacy

Edited by Cees W. de Jong
Thames & Hudson, £39.95

Jan Tschichold: Master Typographer is 350 big pages of heavy paper, hundreds of illustrations, decorative typography, and widely spaced lines of sparse text. This is the bookmaking style of its editor, Martijn Le Coultre. In his small-format, 500-page Graphic Design 20th Century, published in 2003, the only text is a nineteen-page essay by Alston W. Purvis, one of the five contributors to Jan Tschichold: Master Typographer. In 2007, Le Coultre and Purvis published Jan Tschichold: Posters of the Avantgarde (see review in Eye no. 64 vol. 16). Added to the posters were photographs of the designer: posing alone, with family, friends or avant-garde colleagues. Tschichold was transforming from a personality into a celebrity . . .

. . . Perhaps designers will consider his ideas, consider how they relate to his work, and their own, and not be content merely with what they look like in reproduction. And ignore what Tschichold himself looked like, or how he dressed.

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