TYPOGRAPHY. Lewis Blackwell: TWENTIETH-CENTURY TYPE. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1992.

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Lewis Blackwell

Lewis Blackwell: TWENTIETH-CENTURY TYPE. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Incorporated, 1992. First edition.  Quarto. Orange cloth titled in black. Printed dust jacket. 256 pp. 265 color illustrations. 130 black and white illustrations. Interior unmarked and very clean. This edition is out-of-print. A fine copy in a fine dust jacket.

9.5 x 12.25 hardcover book with 256 pages and 265 color and 130 black and white illustrations. An extraordinarily complete history of the art of typography in the twentieth century, from 1890 to 1990, from the editor of Creative Review. Wonderful book with many obscure and rare examples reproduced with jaw-dropping clarity. My highest recommendation.

All of the major movements, schools and ideologies are included: Art Noveau, Jugenstil, Wiener Werkstatte, De Stijl, Dada, the Bauhaus, Tschichold's Neue Typographie, Surrealism, Depression Moderne, The Swiss and Corporate Styles, Emigre and much more.

From the book: “Type design has held a position of paramount importance in all aspects of graphic design, and has had a profound Influence on the way our environment looks today. TWENTIETH-CENTURY TYPE is devoted specifically to this aspect of graphics, and its spectacular development over the last hundred years.“

“This century began with a dynamic tension between the new technology and old craft traditions — a tension still in evidence, although now manifested in developments such as electronic typesetting and graphic design on computer. Type design has been driven not only by technical improvements but also by Its close relation with art movements, and the most lasting and influential designs have grown out of a creative response to both elements — from the aesthetics of mechanisation seen in the work of the Bauhaus designers, through to the Swiss International Style’, to the highly original computer-based creations of today’s designers such as Neville Brody.“

“This timely study traces the development of type throughout the century, the major personalities involved and their influence on each other. It puts into perspective the development of typeforms that have become so well known they are regarded as universal standards — Helvetica, Gill, Times — as well as the underlying influence of the vernacular and of traditional forms. Extensive appendices include detailed analysis of the different terms used to describe letterforms, and tables showing how type Is grouped according to its main characteristics.“

“This invaluable book draws together history, technical analysis and aesthetic criticism in an accessible form for all the graphic designers of today, who have the means to create their own typefaces to a degree unimagined by their predecessors. It Is also a unique introduction to a crucial subject for all students of design and for the general reader concerned about the history and the issues behind the rapidly changing arts of communication.“

The development of mechanised typesetting.
The growth of demand for print and the implications for type and typography.
William Morris and the private press movement.
Art Nouveau and the freedom of lithography.
People: Beggarstaff Brothers, Linn Boyd Benton, Tolbert Lanston, Ottmar Mergenthaler, William Morris.
Typefaces: Akzidenz Grotesk, Cheltenham, Golden, Grasset.

Art and design movements question nineteenth-century values, with new ideas spreading into typography.
Art Nouveau and Jugendstil.
Arts and Crafts and Wiener Werkstätte.
People: Peter Behrens, Morris Fuller Benton, Otto Eckmann, Koloman Moser.
Typefaces: Auriol, Doves, Eckmann, Franklin Gothic.

The impact of Cubism and Futurism.
Marinetti’s typographic revolution.
The Russian Futurists and Suprematists.
The beginnings of De Stijl and Dada.
Continuing mechanical advances in the speed, size and sophistication of setting possible with hot metal.
People: Guillaume Apollinaire, Frederic Goudy, Edward Johnston, Rudolf Koch, F. T. Marinetti, Bruce Rogers.
Typefaces: Centaur, Imprint, Johnston Railway Type, Kennerley, revivals.

Modernism and Revivalism both forge ahead.
The importance of typographic study at the Bauhaus, explored as abstraction, implementation and constituent of art and architectural thought.
The quest for simpler, purer type and layout through reductive geometrics.
The beginnings of the grid.
Asymmetry, sans serif and Tschichold’s “new typography” commandments.
In contrast, the principles laid down by Morison and others connected with The Fleuron.
The advance of revival designs.
Art Deco and the French poster artists.
People: Herbert Bayer, Eric Gill, El Lissitsky, Lászlo Moholy-Nagy, Stanley Morison, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Kurt Schwitters, Jan Tschichold, Hendrik Werkman, Piet Zwart.
Typefaces: Baskerville, Bembo, Bifur, Broadway, Cable, Gill, Futura.

Doubt and the new typography.
The impact of the Great Depression in the United States and growing political repression in Europe on the dimate for new ideas in art and design.
Commerce, compromise and emigration for the apostles of Modernism.
Keller, Williman, Bailmer, Bill and the origins of Swiss Style.
Surrealism and the typographic pun.
Early attempts at photosetting.
People: Theo Ballmer, Max Bill, Alexey Brodovitch, A. M. Cassandre, Herbert Matter, Albert Tolmer.
Typefaces: Beton, Peignot, Times New Roman.

War breaks the advance of ideas in Europe, cuts off investment and materials for new typefaces, but gives impetus to the adoption of exiled Modernists in the United States.
War poster work draws together the disparate directions of twentieth-century graphics.
Paul Rand indicates a direction for the look of post-war advertising.
Tschichold’s apostasy as he rejects the New Typography and embraces classicism.
People: Paul Rand, Bradbury Thompson, Jan Tschichold.

The revolutionary principles of the 1920s typographers and artists are now part of the establishment and, embodied in Swiss Style, are propagated as a comprehensive and reductive solution.
Meanwhile, Tschichold and others build the case for a new classicism, and commercial growth demands new choices in display typography.
Corporate design programmes become more sophisticated and stimulate typographic thought Investment in type technology lifts off and the first commercially viable photosetting systems are launched.
Television graphics begin to take their own form.
People: Roger Excoffon, Adrian Frutiger, Josef Muller-Brockmann, Hermann Zapf.
Typefaces: Banco, Helvetica, Optima, Palatino, Univers.

The arrival of “cold type’, transfer lettering, more media and the attack on professionalism and traditional craft.
The golden age of American advertising and the typographic pun: the spread of
American ‘conceptual” graphics into Europe.
Pop Art, psychedelia and communication design.
Readability becomes more complex.
People: Willi Fleckhaus, Adrian Frutiger, Herb Lubalin, Victor Moscoso.
Typefaces: Antique Olive, Eurostile, OCR-A, Sabon.

The decline of metal setting and concern at lowering of standards.
The proliferation of typographic routes, as electronic sethng begins to appear.
The explosion of information leads to a wide range of attempts to improve communication across different media: typography is now being clearly seen as a discipline that extends beyond print into television and other graphic communication, such as pictograms.
International Typeface Corporation puts down a marker for the type designer’s rights.
Wolfgang Weingart and the New Wave provide a new perspective on the conventions of readability, as does Punk.
People: Oti Aicher, Herb Lubalin, Wolfgang Weingart.
Typefaces: American Typewriter, Bell Centennial, Frutiger, Galliard.

Digital typesetting takes over and with it come new powers in type design and manufacturing.
The significance of PostScript as a language that unites different systems.
Lowcost computer technology takes control out of the hands of the specialist typesetter.
From Matthew Carter and the rapid growth of the Bitstream library, to the “school” of selfconscious typography projected by (among others) Neville Brody in London, Rudy VanderLans and Zuzana Licko in California, Tibor Kalman in New York.
A rich vein of nostalgia is present in a wide range of commercial work, taken to sophisticated heights in Rolling Stone, while minimalism is refined by a few, such as Peter Saville.
People: Neville Brody, Matthew Carter, Gert Dumbar, Zuzana Licko, Katherine McCoy, Peter Saville. Rudy VanderLans.

The ever-changing conception of type — from cold metal to hot metal to film to digital information and several thousand faces on a compact disc.
The demand for old standards in the new technology while the potential of digital information opens up new possibilities.
Type design becomes a cottage industry.
Questioning and experimentation continue around the concept of readability.
The potential shift of typography from a specialist craft to a common area of knowledge embraced as part of computer literacy.


This volume also includes work by Josef Albers, M. F. Agha, Guillame Apollinaire, Herbert Bayer, Lester Beall, Max Bill, Will Bradley, Alexey Brodovitch, Neville Brody, Jean Carlu, David Carson, A. M. Cassandre, Oswald Cooper, Fortunato Depero, Theo van Doesburg, Frederic Goudy, April Greiman, John Heartfield, Johannes Itten, Leo Lionni, Zuzana Licko, El Lissitzky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Bruno Monguzzi, Paul Renner, Paul Rand, Alexander Rodchenko, Kurt Schwitters, H. N. Werkman, Piet Zwart, Paul Schuitema, Jan Tschichold, Joost Schmidt, Ladislav Sutnar and hundreds of other graphic designers from around the world.