OCTAVO. JOURNAL OF TYPOGRAPHY 86.1 – 92.8. London: Eight Five Zero, 1986 – 1992. 8 issues [all published]: 7 journals and 1 CD-ROM. Michael Burke, Mark Holt, Simon Johnson, Hamish Muir [Editors 1 – 6].

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OCTAVO. JOURNAL OF TYPOGRAPHY 86.1 - 92.8

Michael Burke, Mark Holt, Simon Johnson, Hamish Muir [Editors 1 – 6]

Michael Burke, Mark Holt, Simon Johnson, Hamish Muir [Editors 1 – 6]: OCTAVO. JOURNAL OF TYPOGRAPHY 86.1 - 92.8. London: Eight Five Zero, 1986 - 1992. Eight issues [all published]: 7 journals and 1 CD-ROM. Complete run of the experimental typographic journal published in an edition of 3,000 copies between 1986 and 1992. The final issue [92.8] consists of a CD-ROM and folded poster. Printed saddle-stitched vellum wrappers. 16 pp.  Folded poster [as issued]. A lovely, nearly fine set from an original subscriber. Rare.

[7] 8.25 x 11.75 journals, [1] Macintosh compatible CD-ROM, and [1] poster. Each journal is 16 pages with expected elaborate design and production.

OCTAVO 86.1 [August 1986]: 16 pp text, 4 pp cover, 8 pp trace jacket. 5 colours: black, red, grey, grey, grey varnish. Contents:

  • Technics and Ethnics: The Work of Anthony Froshaug. Robin Kinross. Providing a unique insight into the work of this important typographer who combined an experience and understanding of European modernist design principles with a very English approach to typographic convention.
  • Information Texture. April Greiman. On the design potential of the Mac.
  • Richard Long's Art of Words. Richard Reason.   Addresses the use of type in Long's art, making this an important documentation of this aspect of the artist's work.

OCTAVO 86.2 [January 1987]: 16 pp text, 4 pp cover, 8 pp trace jacket. 5 colours: black, blue, grey, varnish, varnish. Contents:

  • Semantic Composition. Peter Mayer. Looks at Stefan Themerson's use of the internal vertical justification and discusses other related typographical works.
  • Theory in Practise. Colin Maughan. A review of the work of designer and teacher Geoff White whose enthusiasm and dedication to typographic experimentation remain undiminished after thirty years.

OCTAVO 87.3 [August 1987]:  16 pp text, 4 pp cover, 8 pp trace jacket. 7 colours: black, green, blue, red, yellow, grey, varnish. Contents:

  • Ian Hamilton Finlay: Terror and Virtue. Lindsay Fulcher. A consideration of the duality and paradox in Hamilton Finlay's work.
  • Where is the School of Thought? Peter Rea. A demand for a reappraisal of values in design education.
  • Architectural Typography: Willi Kunz at Colombia. Kenneth Frampton and Willi Kunz. Client and designer discuss Kunz's famous series of posters for the lecture programme at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning.

OCTAVO 87.4 Weingart Issue [January 1988]: 16 pp text, 4 pp cover, 8 pp trace jacket. 6 colours: 2 blacks, agrees, 2 varnishes! Contents:

  • How can one make Swiss Typography? Wolfgang Weingart. An issue devoted to Wolfgang Weingart's seminal 1972 lecture manuscript, previously only available in photocopied format. Over 100 examples of work from Weingart's teaching at the Basel School of Design.

OCTAVO 88.5 lower case issue [August 1988]: 16 pp text, 4 pp cover, 8 pp trace jacket. 8 colours: black, blue-grey, blue, red, red, yellow, green and varnish. Contents:

  • Large and small letters: authority and democracy. Robin Kinross. An in-depth study of Upper-and lower-case usage and parallel hierarchies.
  • lower-case in the Dutch lowlands. Wim Crouwel. Offers a unique perspective upon the pioneering Dutch designers' lower-case campaign from the 20s, and its lasting effect on graphic design in Holland.
  • poetry in the lower-case. Peter Mayer. Traces the development of lower-case usage in verse printing through to the adoption of all lower-case by concrete poets in the 50s and 60s.

OCTAVO 88.6 Environment issue [ January 1989]: 16 pp text, 4 pp cover, 8 pp trace jacket. 4-colour process, 2 varnishes. 36,000 die-stamped impressions: four weeks to print and 16 to finish! Contents:

  • Signs of Revolution. Martin Pawley. Argues for a reassessment of the changing relationship between signs and buildings.
  • Printed Time. Barry Kitts. Charts the fascinating development of typographic convention in timetable design from the 1830s to the present day.
  • Highway Codes. Neil Parker. Reveals the secrets of registration plate coding systems from around the world, accompanied by die-stamped colour examples of plates photographed from his extensive collection.

OCTAVO 90.7 The New Synthesis [July 1990]: 16 pp text, 4 pp cover, 8 pp trace jacket. 4-colour process, matt + gloss varnish. Contents:

  • The 'ring neuer werbegestalter' 1927 - 1933. Prof Friedrich Friedl. An important survey of the work of this pan-European movement with an informed assessment of the pioneering typographic approach common to all the ring's members who formulated many design principles still in use today.
  • Type and Image. Bridget Wilkins. Questions conventional ideas of reading, legibility and typographic layout.
  • Mobilizing Words. Roland Schaer. Director of Cultural Services at the Musee d'Orsay discusses Philippe Apleoig's innovative work for the museum and the Festival d'ete. With commentary from Apeloig.

OCTAVO 92.8 Multi-media Issue [November 1992]: Macintosh compatible CD-ROM. [No paper edition]. 23.25” x 33” poster foled into eighths, as issued.

  • A study of issues surrounding multi-media today, and those that will affect the future synthesis of emerging communications media. The CD-ROM format of this final issue is aimed at an audience of fellow designers and typographers, attempting to raise awareness of the coming changes in information technology, which will fundamentally redefine both our modes of communication and the role of design. Research by Deborah Marshall and Bridget Wilkins. Text by Deborah Marshall. Voice by Rod Arthur.

Simplicity of form is never a poverty, it is a great virtue. -- Jan Tschichold, quoted by the editors in issue 1.

“This independent journal of typography was started with the intended aim of raising the level of awareness and discussion of typography in graphic design, poetry, the environment and art, to an international audience of fellow designers and typographers. The first issue was published in 1986 and the projected frequency was one issue every six months, with an emphasis upon the quality of printing and production. The magazine was scheduled to run to only 8 issues, as the name would suggest. That goal was met, but the time frame wasn't.

"If such a schedule suggested seriousness of purpose and a precise agenda of ideas, this was more than confirmed by the early issues. Two members of the team had studied with Wolfgang Weingart in Basel, and Octavo had a high-mindedness and purity that set it apart intellectually and aesthetically from both the commercial and 'style' wings of contemporary British graphics. Octavo was sternly opposed to typographic mediocrity, nostalgia, fashion, decoration, symmetry, centered type and the hated serif. It was for a semantically determined use of structure and the infinite possibilities of typographic experimentation. 'We take an international, modernist stance,' the first editorial concluded. 'This is necessary in England.'" -- Rick Poynor

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