Jost Hochuli’s concise guide to micro-typography considers everything that can happen within a column of text. The book was published first, in several languages, in 1987 and 1988. Hochuli then developed the German text, publishing it again in 2005, with Verlag Niggli in Switzerland. That new edition is the basis for our book: translating and adapting the work to English-language conditions. (For an explanation of why we have let the book go out of print, see here.)
Hochuli in books
Designing books: practice and theory
Jost Hochuli & Robin Kinross
A vastly experienced Swiss book-designer explains his trade with plentiful illustrations of designed books. Two complementary components are added: an essay by Hochuli on some dogmas of typography, and arguing for an attitude of critical openness of mind; and reproduction of books designed by Hochuli himself, with analytical captions by Kinross. (The book is being left out of print, for reasons given here.)
Hochuli in the journal
We have sold the last copies of Jost Hochuli’s Detail in typography (2008, reprinted in 2009). Demand for this book continues, but we have decided not to make a reprint. Production costs for this book are high, and they are not helped by currency fluctuations over the last few years. (Since 2009, the Swiss Franc has risen by 25 per cent against the UK pound.) At the same time, the book trade – ever more distorted by the deep discounts demanded by the internet sellers – makes publication of such books, which four years ago was already difficult, now look impossible without subventions from somewhere. Copies of the original German-language edition, Das Detail in der Typografie, published in Switzerland by Niggli Verlag, are still available. We can also recommend the French edition.
Next week in Vienna, two events hosted by the Typographische Gesellschaft Austria take place: a workshop with Jost Hochuli (Monday 11 to Friday 15) and a talk by Robin Kinross on ‘Design for meaning’ (Wednesday 13). More details here.
Is there still a ‘Swiss typography’. That is the broad theme of the first Tÿpo St.Gallen conference, running from 18 to 20 November. Contributors include our authors Jost Hochuli, and – giving a rare public lecture – Gerrit Noordzij. Bruno Monguzzi is among other speakers who appear only rarely at typography conferences. As well as the talks, there are visits to the main libraries and archives in St Gallen, and a reception to launch Hochuli’s Das ABC eines Typografen, the latest in the series of Edition Ostschweiz pamphlets.
The original hardback edition (1996) and the subsequent paperback edition (2003, reprinted 2007) of this book have now sold out. Despite its popularity, we have decided to let the book stay out of print now. While the central part of the work (‘Designing books’) remains useful, we feel that the selection of books used to illustrate the discussion could be revised. The first part (‘Book design as a school of thought’) was originally a ‘pièce d’occasion’, though it surely remains valid. The third part (‘Books designed by Jost Hochuli’) has certainly been superseded by Jost Hochuli: printed matter, mainly books, published by Verlag Niggli. We have ideas for a further book that would resume some of this material, but, for the time being, they must wait. We should add that copies of the German-language edition of this work, Bücher machen, published by VGS St. Gallen, are still available.
The exhibition was opened last Thursday with Jost Hochuli’s presentation of the topic – a wide-ranging history of book-making in St Gallen. A set of demountable cases came from Switzerland as part of the exhibition. The Library’s own cases have been removed to accommodate this. This familiar exhibition room has, for the moment, a surprisingly different feel.
The exhibition ‘Book design in St Gallen’ opens this week at the St Bride Library and runs for two short weeks. It is a chance to see material that will not be around ever again in London, and to hear talks about the subject. This Thursday Jost Hochuli will speak at St Bride’s, and on Wednesday 17 March a gang of the usual suspects will offer their views.
Further to the last post, we can mention an exhibition of this year’s ‘most beautiful [what most of the rest of the world knows as ‘best-designed’] Swiss books’. From 19 to 30 November 2008 these books will be shown at Cafe Oto in Dalston. The exhibition is hosted by the Helvetic Centre and several talks and discussions will accompany the event. In the afternoon of Saturday 29 November there will be an open discussion in the exhibition with Jost Hochuli, Ron Costley, and James Goggin.
On Thursday 27 November at 7 pm Jost Hochuli will give a lecture on ‘Systematic book design?’ – the question mark is important here – at the St Bride Foundation. This is a rare occasion and we look forward to hearing Jost Hochuli’s latest thoughts, which will doubtless be sharp and precise. Hyphen Press will be present and Hochuli’s two books Designing books and Detail in typography will be on sale. For more information, go here.
Copies of Hochuli’s Detail in typography have arrived in London. The book is officially published later this month. We are very pleased with the production qualities of the book. The binding, especially, is a marvel of industrial production: completely strong and completely flexible.
Jost Hochuli, author of Designing books and Detail in typography, is responsible for an exhibition of the remarkable book production of his home town of St Gallen. While his own work is also shown, Hochuli insists that ‘Buchgestaltung in St Gallen’ is an exhibition of, as he puts it, work by his close friends Rudolf Hostettler and Max Koller, by his former students and other colleagues. ‘Buchgestaltung in St Gallen’ opened in April at the book fair in Geneva, but will be shown in St Gallen itself from 7 to 29 June 2008.
A paperback edition of Jost Hochuli’s long-lasting Designing books is now available in Europe. It will be released in North and South America later in the year.
This interview was recorded in London on 28 May 1999, and published in Slovenian translation in the cultural magazine Emzin (vol. 9, nos. 1–2). In making this transcription, we have made some clarifications and expansions of what was said.
news | 1999.03.07 | Hochuli
Jost Hochuli has been awarded the City of Leipzig’s Gutenberg Prize for 1999. The award will be made at a ceremony at Leipzig on 25 March. An exhibition of his work will be on display at Stadtbibliothek in Leipzig (25.03.99 to 24.04.99). The prize committee wrote: ‘The work of the typographer and book designer Jost Hochuli covers the whole scope of the ‘metier’. It combines individuality, imagination, modernity, exact knowledge of historical connections, with a functionality, which, deployed with virtuosity, is always put to the service of the reader and the content being designed. Hochuli has found original design solutions for very different kinds of books, from the limited edition and the illustrated book through to the ordinary publisher’s edition and the educational book. With his work he shows what room for creative play there is to explore between tradition and innovation. So the effect of his designs is both playful and precise, both sensitive and solid, and thus they achieve their unobtrusive naturalness. As teacher, author and editor, Jost Hochuli has made an essential contribition to the development of contemporary practice in typography and book design.’
news | 1998.10.21 | Hochuli
An exhibition of the Typotron series of booklets, edited and designed by Jost Hochuli, will be on display at the Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, from 07.11.98 to 30.12.98. Marking the fifteenth anniversary of Typotron, the show will include some of Hochuli’s working drawings and original objects represented in the booklets. The invitation card promises: ‘a small, refined and lively presentation awaits you’.