Our writers and contributors.
Stuart Bailey graduated from the University of Reading in 1994, from the Werkplaats Typografie in 2000 – and co-founded the ongoing journal Dot Dot Dot in the same year. His work circumscribes various aspects of graphic design, writing and editing, most consistently in the form of publications made in close collaboration with artists. Since 2002 he has worked with Will Holder under the compound name Will Stuart on a broader range of projects, including theatre and performance. Since 2006 he has worked together with David Reinfurt as Dexter Sinister, also the name of their basement space on New York’s Lower East Side which operates as a ‘just-in-time workshop and occasional bookstore’.
Otto Friedrich Bollnow (1903–91) gained a doctorate in physics with Max Born before studying philosophy with (especially) Georg Misch and Martin Heidegger, finishing his ‘Habilitation’ at Göttingen in 1931. In the years that followed, he found it difficult to gain a permanent teaching position, achieving this only in 1938. During the war, Bollnow served in the German army. In 1946 he began to teach at the University of Mainz, and in 1953 started as a professor of philosophy and pedagogy at the University of Tübingen, where he stayed for the rest of his life.
As a writer he was prolific: his bibliography runs to 38 books and about 300 articles, almost none of which have been translated into English. Bollnow’s work towards an anthropological pedagogy can be placed within and between the fields of existentialism and phenomenology. His book of 1963, Human space, is situated there too. For more about him, see here.
Christopher Burke is a typographer, typeface designer, and a writer on modern typographic history. After graduating in Typography & Graphic Communication from the University of Reading he worked at Monotype Typography in the UK. Leaving Monotype, he undertook research at Reading for a PhD on Paul Renner, which he completed in 1995. This provided the basis for his book Paul Renner. From 1996 to 2001 he taught at the University of Reading, where he planned and conceived the MA in typeface design. His Celeste and Parable typefaces are available from FontShop, and Pragma from Neufville Digital. His book on Jan Tschichold, Active literature, was published in 2007. For more, go to Hibernia Type.
Peter Burnhill (1922–2007) was a typographer, artist, and teacher. In 1965 he was part of the group that set up and then ran the course in typography at Stafford College of Art and Design (UK). This was dedicated to a more fundamental and practical approach to education than was common, then or since. Through the 1960s and 1970s he participated in a number of attempts to reform typography in Britain, including the Typographers’ Computer Working Group (from 1965), and the Working Party on Typographic Teaching (from 1966). With the psychologist James Hartley, he wrote and published articles in the Journal of Typographic Research and Visible Language.
Peter Campbell (1937–2011) was a book designer and illustrator. He worked for the London Review of Books from its inception in 1979, as its designer and then also its principal art and exhibitions reviewer. In 2012 Artwork , a book of his illustrations for the LRB, was published by the LRB and Profile Books. A website of his work is here. See also here .
Harry Carter (1901–82) was an English typographer and writer. After an education at Bedales School and Oxford University, then training to become a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn, he turned to typography, first (1928–9) as an apprentice at the Monotype Corporation, then working first for a printer (Kynoch Press in Birmingham) and then a book-publisher (Nonesuch Press, London). During the Second Word War he served in the British army, and also during this time continued to design and cut type, and to do typographic history. After the war he worked for HMSO (the official state publisher in Britain) as a typographer. In 1954 he became Archivist to the Oxford University Press, working there until his retirement in 1980. In this capacity he became a leading figure in the work of discovery and cataloguing at the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp. Notable among his publications, under his own name and in collaboration, were Fournier on typefounding (1930), an edition of Moxon’s Mechanick exercises (with Herbert Davis, 1958), Type specimen facsimiles (with others, under the editorship of John Dreyfus, 1963 & 1972), Civilité types (with H.D.L. Vervliet, 1966), Stanley Morison’s John Fell (1967), A view of early typography (1969), and the first volume of a History of Oxford University Press (1975), Charles Enschedé’s Typefoundries in the Netherlands (1978).
Anthony Froshaug (1920–84) was an English typographer and teacher. Born in London to a Norwegian father and English mother, he went to Charterhouse School and the Central School of Arts & Crafts. On leaving the Central in 1939 he began to practice as a freelance graphic designer and typographer. As a typographer he was unusual in running his own small (un-private) press, including two periods of printing in Cornwall (1949–52, 1954–7). This attachment to working with his hands (and feet) in the material production of printing, he combined with a fierce intellect and an often astonishing visual sureness. Froshaug can be considered as the most convincing exponent of modern typography in Britain. Froshaug was a natural teacher: he taught first at the Central School (1948–9, 1952–3), then at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm (1957–61), the Royal College of Art in London (1961–4), Watford School of Art (1964–6); in 1970 he returned to teach (part-time) at the Central School, continuing there until illness forced him to stop.
Tanya Harrod is an independent design historian, living in London, who writes widely on craft, art, and design. Her major study, The crafts in Britain in the twentieth century, was published in 1999. The last sane man, her biography of the potter Michael Cardew, was published in 2012; for this book she was awarded the James Tait Black Prize for biography. She is co-editor of the The Journal of Modern Craft.
Jane Howard graduated in English from Somerville College, Oxford, and worked initially for Victor Gollancz, then an independent publisher, at the firm’s office in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. Later she taught craft apprentices at the former London College of Furniture, which eventually morphed into the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design. Her interests include Renaissance and Baroque music, and the literature of that period, in particular theories of melancholy.
Eric Kindel is a designer, writer, editor, and Professor of Graphic Communication in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading. He graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London, where he later taught and was appointed Research Fellow to the project that made Typeform dialogues. He joined Reading in 1998. His research into the history of stencilling has been underway since 1999, and has involved collaborations with James Mosley and Fred Smeijers. In 2007, he became Principal Investigator for the ‘Isotype revisited’ project; its research products have included From hieroglyphics to Isotype, the exhibition ‘Isotype: international picture language’ (V&A, 2010–11), and Isotype: design and contexts, 1925–1971. Since its fifth issue he has collaborated on Typography papers. He has written for other publications including AA Files, Baseline, Eye, and the Journal of the Printing Historical Society . See also here.
Robin Kinross is proprietor of Hyphen Press. After graduating (1975) and postgraduating (1979) from the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading, he began to do ‘editorial typography’ (editing and design in one process) as well as write about typography. In 1980, while still living in Reading, he re-edited and re-published Norman Potter’s What is a designer as the first book under the imprint of Hyphen Press. In 1982 he moved to London, did behind-the-scenes work for Pluto Press’s political atlases and began to write journalism, especially for the magazine Blueprint in its golden period of the late 1980s. When his book Modern typography came out in 1992, this signalled the start of Hyphen Press as the full-time occupation that it is now. Impatient with authors slow to complete promised works, he resorted to publishing his own words again in the book Unjustified texts (2002). Other books to which he has contributed include Otto Neurath’s Gesammelte bildpädagogische Schriften (1991) and Jan Tschichold’s The new typography (1995).
Ernest Charles Large (1902–76) was (in chronological order) an English industrial chemist, writer, and plant scientist, best known for his book The advance of the fungi (1940): a magisterial history of plant diseases. His novels Sugar in the air and Asleep in the afternoon come from the period of the mid- to late 1930s when he had left his work in industry and was writing full-time. In 1940 he went back into salaried employment as a research scientist. A third novel, Dawn in Andromeda, was published in 1956.
Karel Martens is a Dutch designer and teacher. After training at the school of art in Arnhem, he has worked as a freelance graphic designer, specializing in typography. Alongside this, he has always made free (non-commissioned) graphic and three-dimensional work. His design work ranges widely, from postage stamps, to books, to signs on buildings. All this work is documented and celebrated in the books Drukwerk / printed matter and Karel Martens: counterprint. More recently his work has been represented in the books Full color and Reprint, which was published following the award of the Gerrit Noordzij Prize to him in 2012. Martens has taught graphic design since 1977. His first appointment was at the school of art at Arnhem (until 1994). He was then attached to the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht (1994–9). From 1997 he has been a visiting lecturer in the graphic design department at the School of Art, Yale University. In that year, together with Wigger Bierma, he started a pioneering school of postgraduate education within the ArtEZ, Arnhem – the Werkplaats Typografie. He left the Werkplaats in 2014. Now, in addition to his position at Yale, he teaches at the Design Academy Eindhoven.
James Mosley was Librarian of the St Bride Printing Library (London) from 1958 to 2000. He teaches in the Department of Typography at the University of Reading, and at courses in Lyons, Charlottesville, and elsewhere. He was a founding member of the Printing Historical Society and the first editor of its Journal. The author of many essays, reviews, and monographs on printing and typographic history, he has published some notable articles in Typography papers. He also writes online at Typefoundry.
Marie Neurath (née Reidemeister; 1898–1986) was born in Braunschweig (Germany) and studied at the University of Göttingen. In 1924, just before graduation, she met Otto Neurath (1882–1945) in Vienna and (in March 1925) went to work there as his assistant in what had been a small museum of information about housing. At the start of 1925 this became the Gesellschafts- und Wirtshaftsmuseum in Wien (‘Social and Economic Museum of Vienna’). This was the start of her long activity as the main ‘transformer’ (in English, we would now say designer) working with Neurath in the teams that made graphic displays of social information. The other essential member of the Neurath group, the German artist Gerd Arntz (1901–88), joined in 1928. Marie Reidemeister worked at this museum in Vienna until the brief civil war in Austria in 1934, moving then with Neurath (a prominent Social Democrat) and Arntz (who had allegiances to radical-left groups) to The Hague. In 1935 they began to use the name Isotype in the signature for their work. In 1940, as the German army invaded the Netherlands, Neurath and Reidemeister escaped to England, while Arntz stayed behind in The Hague. In 1941, after release from internment (as ‘enemy aliens’), Marie and Otto Neurath were married, and resumed their work in Oxford, founding the Isotype Institute. After Otto Neurath’s death in 1945, Marie Neurath carried on the work with a small number of English assistants, moving to London in 1948. After her retirement in 1971, she gave much energy to establishing a record of Otto Neurath’s life and work, and editing and translating his writings.
Otto Neurath (1882–1945), was a polymath whose life’s work encompassed politics, sociology, philosophy, urbanism, and visual communication. Concerning the last-named field: he was the leading figure in the work that is now most commonly termed ‘Isotype’.
Neurath was born in Vienna, the son of the political economist Wilhelm Neurath (1840–1901). He studied mathematics and physics, then economics, history and philosophy at the University of Vienna; he gained his doctorate in the department of philosophy at the University of Berlin. From 1907 he taught political economy at the Neue Wiener Handelsakademie (‘new Vienna academy of commerce’) until war broke out in 1914. After some war service, he became director of the Deutsches Kriegswirtschaftsmuseum (‘German museum of war economy’) at Leipzig. In 1918–19, working as a civil-servant (though he joined the German Social-Democratic Party), Neurath ran an office for central economic planning in Munich. When the Bavarian ‘soviet republic’ was defeated, Neurath was arrested and, after trial, sentenced to one-and-a-half years’ imprisonment, but was eventually released after an intervention from the Austrian government – with a condition that he did not return to Germany.
Back in Vienna, Neurath became general secretary for the Österreichischer Verband für Siedlungs-und Kleingartenwesen (‘Austrian association for estate-housing and allotments’), a collection of self-help groups that aimed to provide housing and garden plots for its members. In 1923, he became the director of a Siedlungsmuseum (a museum of housing – it went under various titles). At the start of 1925 he opened the Gesellschafts-und Wirtschaftsmuseum in Wien (‘social and economic museum of Vienna’), for which he became fully engaged in the use of visual methods for explanation and education. Working with Marie Reidemeister (from 1925) in a gradually developing team of collaborators – the main other one was the artist Gerd Arntz (from 1928) – Neurath created Isotype.
Alongside his work for this museum and for the housing movement, Neurath also became a very committed Logical Positivist. He was the main author of the Vienna Circle manifesto (1929). Later, in the 1930s and 1940s, he was the driving force behind its successor Unity of Science movement.
In February 1934 a brief civil war in Austria broke out: the conservative-nationalist Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss took control of government and began to suppress socialist opposition groups. Neurath and his core group at the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum left Vienna for The Hague. They had already established a working organization – the ‘International Foundation for the Promotion of Visual Education by the Vienna Method’ – there.
The group from the Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum then continued their work from this new base. Its international spread, which had already started in Vienna, intensified and extended. In 1935 the name ‘Isotype’ was devised to describe what had been known as the Wiener Methode (‘Vienna method’). With the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, Otto Neurath and Marie Reidemeister left The Hague and mainland Europe, heading for England, which they reached. (Gerd Arntz stayed behind in The Hague.) After internment – along with all other ‘enemy aliens’ – they resumed their work, now living in Oxford; the Isotype Institute was established in 1942. Otto Neurath died suddenly in December 1945, in full flow – and with some remarkable accomplishments to his name and to those of the groups of collaborators of which he was one.
Gerrit Noordzij is one of the eminent Dutch graphic designers and (in all senses) writers. He has also been a path-breaking teacher at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, where from 1970 to 1990 he directed the course in letter design. Among the students from his classes are some of the most distinguished Dutch type and graphic designers. As a writer of essays and books, his works include the bulletin Letterletter (reissued in book form in 2000), De handen van de zeven zusters (2000), and The stroke. For more, see this incomplete bibliography.
Norman Potter (1923–95) was an English cabinetmaker, designer, poet, and teacher. In the Second World War, and immediately afterwards, he acquired the skills of cabinetmaking; his life-long anarchist beliefs were also developed then. Through the 1950s he ran a workshop in Wiltshire, and began to work also as an ‘interior designer’ (a term he refused). In the 1960s he became a teacher, first at the Royal College of Art in London, then at the Construction School of the West of England College of Art, Bristol. After the first publication of What is a designer, he gave his energies increasingly to writing. His book Models & Constructs (1990) documented and reflected on his life & work.
Daniel Poyner is an independent graphic designer working in Staffordshire. After graduating from the University of Northampton in 1998, he moved to London where he worked on projects for arts, media and cultural organizations. In 2008 he returned to the Midlands to concentrate on writing and on running his own design practice.
Fred Smeijers is a Dutch type designer, teacher, and writer. After finishing as a student at the school of art at Arnhem, he worked as a typographic advisor to the reprographic company Océ, then became a founding member of the graphic design practice Quadraat, which provided the name for his first published typeface (FontShop, 1992). Smeijers has a whole range of distinctive typefaces to his credit, including Renard (The Enschedé Font Foundry, 1998) and Arnhem, Fresco, Sansa, and Custodia. These latter are all distributed by OurType, the company that he co-founded. His books are Counterpunch (1996) and Type now (2003). He is a winner of the Gerrit Noordzij prize (2001), and is Professor of Digital Typography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig.
Paul Stiff (1949–2011) taught in the Department of Typography at the University of Reading, where, among other things, he ran the MA Information Design programme, directed the Optimism of modernity research project, and edited Typography papers. He was co-editor of Information Design Journal , with Rob Waller, from 1985 to 1989, and then editor until 2000. For a fuller account, see here.
The Department of Typography & Graphic Communication grew out of the Typography Unit, established by Michael Twyman first within, then outwith, the Fine Art Department at the University of Reading in the 1960s. In 1974 ‘the Unit’ was turned into ‘the Department’. At that time it could claim to be the only place in the UK (and elsewhere) in which to do typography at university level. Despite the subsequent proliferation of typography courses and universities, it remains a remarkable centre of typographic teaching and research.
Chris Villars works as an information technologist and gives his spare moments to music and painting. Born in Cambridge (UK), he studied philosophy at the University of Birmingham. He was one of the founding editors of the contemporary music magazine Contact. In 1997, he started the Morton Feldman Page, the website that has become the major online resource for anyone interested in Feldman and his music.
Sue Walker is Professor of Typography and a former Head of the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. She has written numerous articles about typography and design for children. Her research interests are in the relationship between typography and language, and in information design history, theory and practice. With Eric Kindel she was Co-Investigator on the ‘Isotype revisited’ project; its research products have included From hieroglyphics to Isotype, the exhibition ‘Isotype: international picture language’ (V&A, 2010–11), and Isotype: design and contexts, 1925–1971. See also here.
David Wild is an architect and writer. He studied architecture at Portsmouth, the Architectural Association in London, then worked for several firms before starting independent practice, teaching, and writing. He entered politics during the Vietnam war, producing and distributing 20,000 NLF flagbags to raise money for medical aid; designed and edited the outside-left architectural magazine ARse (1969–72), and designed the first Big Red Diary (1974). His practice has concentrated on domestic buildings, and his own self-built house in London is his best-known work; most recently he designed Cypher House. He has written many critiques and reviews for the British architectural press (especially Architecture Today and Architects’ Journal ) and is the author of Fragments of utopia and Jazzpaths. (Our author is the architect David Wild. There is also a ‘jazz David Wild’ [see here] and a ‘pop David Wild’ [see here]).
Christopher Wilson is a British graphic designer (under the name Oberphones) and writer about graphic design. He graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1996 and the Royal College of Art in 2002. As a writer, his work has been published in Dot Dot Dot, Eye, and other magazines; he also designed, and wrote most of, the book Designed by Peter Saville. He worked as Richard Hollis’s assistant on many projects in the years 1999–2003. For more, see here.
Edward Wright (1912–88) was an artist and designer. Born in Liverpool, where his father was Ecuadorian vice-consul (his mother was Chilean), he trained and worked briefly as an architect before concentrating on painting, drawing, print-making, and also ‘commercial art’ (as it was then still called). From 1942 through to his retirement he lived in London, with periods of work in book publishing and advertising, and teaching graphic design (very broadly conceived) – most notably at the Central School (his evening classes in typography, 1952–6, became legendary) and at Chelsea School of Art. Wright was among those who fostered the modern spirit in Britain, working alongside architects, and refusing any simple split between art and design. He was always much concerned with text and language. Among his exceptional work is the lettering that he made for modern buildings, often managing both a specific design and an alphabet that could be applied more generally. A short book of writings by and about him is available. Among other documentation of his work, see: here, an article in Baseline no. 52, and an appreciation in Unjustified texts.