book (design) story #106
druckhaus maack, lüdenscheid; ernst & sohn verlag, berlin, 1988
printer: druckhaus maack, lüdenscheid
size: 30 x 29 cm
designer: otl aicher
"typographie" by otl aicher (1922-1991) is one of the classic books on the subject, also because its design demonstrates what aicher is writing about. again aicher used lots of white on the dustjacket and slipcase – looks nice, but is not very practical: it really shows the dust...
the title appears in the same style on the case, jacket, and grey cloth cover.
below the laid-in publisher's leaflet about the book project. the logo (top left) shows a (aquite abstract) gryphon with two gutenberg-style ink pads – an old symbol of the printing trade. violet endpapers are the only colour in the otherwise black, white, and grey book.
the title page: lots of white space, as usual.
the book has bilingual text in german and english running parallel in columns. aicher used his "rotis" typeface family (and also writes about it): interestingly, german text is set lower-case in "rotis semigrotesk" (semi sans), english text mixed-case in "rotis antiqua" (serif roman) .
the phenomenon of written langague is explored from a very multi-cultural point of view – quite a difference to tschichold's eurocentric "anti-nationalism" in 1928 (story 29).
below some examples of what aicher considers "bad" post-modern typography: geometric formalism – maybe funny, but lacking easy readability.
we learn about the development of modern sans-serifs – from akzidenz-grotesk to rotis.
aicher discusses the concept of "functionalism": while the modernist movement of the 1920s believed in simple geometric forms (paul renner's futura typeface), today's advanced technologies allow for a more complex relationship between form and function (rotis typeface).
not all typographers like aicher's rotis typeface and his book design style – but to know about his ideas and theories is still a must. below: watch dials demonstrate aicher's concept of "analogous" vs. "digital" (design) philosophy.
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