Critical Essay History In Modern Typography

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Hochuli’s design for this volume is seemingly traditional, yet he has provided ample white space in the layout and used simple black and red diagrams to illustrate his points, making for an uncluttered book which is easy on the eyes.

It is truly pleasurable to read, and one more example of the principles outlined in its pages.

A generous selection of covers and interiors (most of them from European and American publishers) accompanies these texts.

The third part, written for the Hyphen Press edition, shows 27 examples of Hochuli’s own work, presented in chronological order and with brief comments by Kinross.

The main theme of the essay remains the same: the ongoing rationalization of typography.

The author has taken Jürgen Habermas’s idea of “modernity as a continuing project” and applied it to the field of typography.Hochuli also argues that a book is something that has a function, and that typography should be placed in the service of the reader: “…the motto that ‘typography serves’ holds good for almost every book, where it serves with special modesty.Modest, not uncaring: even the simplest typography can be decent, appropriate, yes even beautiful”.Last year, Hyphen re-issued two of its titles, which is a good excuse to review them here.Book Design as a Process Anyone with an interest in books, including bibliophiles and graphic designers, will welcome the chance to get acquainted with some of Jost Hochuli’s ideas in the paperback version of sets itself apart with its manifest intention of combining thinking and doing.The previously black-and-white photographs near the back of the book have been replaced with newly-made color images. In some cases, the changes are small, reflecting recent research.But the closing chapter has been rewritten and expanded, putting into perspective the last few years of typographic development in the Western world.(I am aware of at least one current research project that touches upon similar subject matter, although it was not inspired by this book.) Respect for the Reader These books are well worth getting hold of — Hochuli’s is an exemplary manual which contains some clear-headed thinking about the practice of book design.Kinross’s presents a history of typography that is rich in ideas and precise, pithy arguments.Kinross presents his material in a way that makes you want to find out more.For the curious reader, he provides an entire chapter in which he discusses his sources, plus a bibliography, an index, and a postscript on how and why the items in the photo section were selected and reproduced.


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