Robin Kinross / 2015.03.12
Background to our publications. Back to all journal entries.
The Gerrit Noordzij Prize, organized by the Type and Media postgraduate course at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (Royal Academy of Art) in The Hague, is awarded every three years. Last week it was presented to the type designer Cyrus Highsmith, and the previous winner, Karel Martens, was celebrated in a seminar, an exhibition, and a book. Read more
Copies of our new book, Tanya Harrod’s The real thing, arrived before Christmas. We published it formally on 22 January, launching it that evening at a reception at the Art Workers’ Guild in London. The book, which gathers over 30 years’ worth of writing for magazines, journals and newspapers, follows the loose format of previous collections – Peter Campbell’s At … and Robin Kinross’s Unjustified texts. Like those two books, this one was printed in Belgium (Die Keure) and bound in the Netherlands (Binderij Hexspoor). Read more
The CD An Italian in Paris that we published earlier this year has just received a very nice review in the magazine Early Music Today. The reviewer is Nicholas Anderson, whom a few of us will remember as a warm and knowledgeable voice on BBC Radio 3 in the 1970s – in the days when standards of music broadcasting at Radio 3 were high. Read more
Copies of our two new titles arrived in the office recently, and we are releasing them for sale today. These are Typography papers 9, edited by Eric Kindel and Paul Luna, and Isotype: design and contexts, 1925–1971, edited by Christopher Burke, Eric Kindel, and Sue Walker. Both books are collaborations with the Department of Typography at the University of Reading; the second book being an outcome of the Isotype revisited project there. Both books have been well printed by Die Keure in Bruges. Both have been well finished and bound (using cold glue) by, respectively, Sepeli in Evergem and Callenbach in Nijkerk. For some people the binding alone will make them worth getting hold of. For others the extraordinarily rich content will be the main reason for acquisition. Read more
This new Hyphen Press website is launched today. Before the old site stopped functioning, in June, we had already decided to make a new one to be responsive on all kinds of screen, with improvements to the shopping process, and to let us provide downloadable files in a more integrated way. Almost all the material from the old site has been retained here. We have checked through much of the old text and the pictures. There are certainly still links that are broken, missing pictures, mis-styled text: much of which we should be able to fix in the coming days. But if you find anything obviously wrong and would like to tell us, please do. Write to info [at] hyphenpress.co.uk. Read more
One way of finding text on this website is via the search function (in the right column of every page). This will get you to any word that has been written anywhere on the website. There is also an overview of the postings in the journal here. This is a more intelligible and selective guide: an index to the main, discursive pieces in the journal pages (at October 2013; updated from the previous index of June 2011). Pieces have been grouped rather crudely by theme, and then are alphabetically ordered by title. The main author of these pieces is Robin Kinross; other authors are noted here. Read more
One of the most gratifying and interesting moments in book-publishing is seeing a book of ours issued by another publisher in a translated edition. It is not just the language that needs to be translated. As part of the publishing agreement, we will supply files for all the pictures: but the treatment of pictures remains in the hands of the other publisher. The size of pages, the paper, the binding, and all the other aspects of a book’s material composition are all open for determination by the translating publisher. All of which can provide a pleasant surprise. Often one may feel that the other publisher has refined or improved aspects of the material; or at least their resolution of the problems provides an illuminating alternative to what we did. This week copies of the Korean edition of Christopher Burke’s Active literature, published by Workroom Press in Seoul, arrived here in London. Read more
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.
Update, July 2015:
We happy to announce that our English-language edition of Detail in typography is being taken over by Éditions B42 in Paris, and should be published later this year. Éditions B42 already publishes the French-language edition, Le detail en typographie (at present out of print, but due to be reissued). Their edition of the original German-language edition, Das Detail in der Typografie, has just appeared.
Last week we sent off 1550 Bach Players CDs, all assembled in the office, to the warehouse of our new distributor Codaex, in Belgium. We recycled boxes used for books. Read more
From next month our CDs will be distributed by Codaex. Through the various Codaex partners we will for the first time be able to reach shops in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, as well as the UK.
We were part of a successful and good-spirited event at Housmans bookshop in London last night. The occasion was the publication of our book Autonomy, and the posthumous collection of Colin Ward’s writings on ecological themes: Talking green. Someone from the shop had warned that Colin Ward – who died in 2010, after a very full life as architect, writer, editor, disseminator, doer – always brings the crowds in. The shop was packed out, with all seats taken, and people standing and sitting on the floor. As our introducer for the event remarked, this crowd, more than any crowd, ought to be able to self-organize the seating problem, and they did. Read more
On Saturday 9 February (6.30 pm), our book Autonomy is the subject of an event at Housmans Bookshop in London. Daniel Poyner will introduce the book and Richard Hollis will talk about the cover designs of Anarchy. Ken Worpole will talk about this book and also about the recent collection of Colin Ward’s writings Talking green, from Five Leaves. Anything to do with Colin Ward seems to pull in a crowd these days, so if you want to come, be sure to reserve a seat by writing to Nik @ housmans.com.
We have today posted – free to download – a document that gathers materials from the Typeform dialogues project, carried out by Eric Kindel, Catherine Dixon, and others at Central Saint Martins, London, in 1994–8 and afterwards. (Update: this document is here.)
Some finished copies of our next book, Autonomy: the cover designs of ‘Anarchy’ 1961–1970 were delivered to the office this morning. This is the culmination of several years of work by the book’s editor Daniel Poyner; he was joined by designer Peter Brawne and sub-editor Robin Kinross to form a group of three people who made the final book. The result feels like a very solid (820 gm) and well-manufactured contribution to graphic and political culture. It has been printed by Die Keure in Bruges and bound by Hexspoor at Boxtel in the Netherlands, using the Otabind process with cold glue. The book stays flat at every opening: essential for the central sections of the book in which we show back-and-front covers of all 118 issues of the journal as double-page spreads. Autonomy will be published formally on 15 November. It should put in its first public appearance tomorrow at the Anarchist Bookfair in London (go to the stands of Housmans Bookshop and Freedom Press). Read more
This Saturday 20 October we are taking part in the book and zine fair at Spike Island, Bristol – not because we publish experimental literature (we don’t), but because of some Bristol connections (starting with Norman Potter) and because of an exhibition there of pieces designed and printed Desmond Jeffery. Sally Jeffery wrote a wonderful account of this work for Typography papers 8. We will be selling copies of this and other related books at the fair.
Our books and catalogues are at the Buchmesse, on the stand of Coen Sligting Bookimport: Halle 4.1, K547.
What happens to books when they leave home and are taken out into the public realm? We posted on this here and here. Now see this wonderful blog on the theme: the Underground New York Public Library. It’s only a pity that the books being read are hyperlinked to that monstrous internet seller that shall be nameless.
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.
The photograph below records the entrance space at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, last week, where Robin Kinross gave a ‘conférence’ on the occasion of the publication of the French edition of Modern typography. He also took part in a radio discussion for France Culture, to be broadcast at lunchtime on 28 May. Such serious attention in the public realm to typography is unusual. In the Anglo-Saxon world, it’s unheard of. Read more
Until now we have had a policy of not charging UK customers for the carriage of books and CDs bought from this website. But, on Monday, the Royal Mail is raising its charges markedly. Postage costs will represent an even larger proportion of a purchase – and we have decided now to introduce charges to cover our costs.
Postings in this journal column have been light over the last few months. This is partly just because we’ve been busy. But it is partly due to having opened a Twitter account (@hyphenpress). We don’t put out much there either, but the fascination of Twitter has certainly taken up energy that might have been put into this column. Ideally one should tweet there and post here, and there are some remorseless bloggers who only tweet to announce their new blog posts. The more interesting course seems to be to use Twitter for light, quick messages with real content, and these blog or journal postings for more extended and longer, more lasting things. That’s what we will try for.
Copies of our fifth CD arrived in the office last week. This is a double CD, offering an extensive selection of pieces by the two composers, Johann Pachelbel and J.S. Bach. As always, The Bach Players put familiar works into less familiar contexts: two of Bach’s most splendid cantatas are placed alongside Pachelbel’s setting of the same texts. Pachelbel’s imperishable Canon is there, but so too is a fresh arrangement of the lesser known canons from Bach’s Goldberg Variations. We believe that these two CDs will have a greater resonance and effect than a single CD could. Read more
Many apologies to anyone who has been trying to find this website in the last few days. Our provider had put it on a new server – with essential elements missing, and nothing showed. But now we’re back.
Our office is now closed for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Any orders made on the website will be gratefully received during this period – but the books/CDs cannot be posted to you until the first week of January. Greetings of the season!
Any book seems to have its appropriate, though inevitably temporary, resting place. Here we see a copy of E.C. Large’s Asleep in the afternoon in the Mast second-hand bookshop in Manhattan’s East Village. This location bears out the prediction of a sales manager that E.C. Large would be taken up by ‘hip young people’ – and hip enough to know the virtues of alphabetical order. The democratic, plain-writing Large is sandwiched by Ring Lardner and Stieg Larsson: neighbours who seem somehow exactly right for him. Read more
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.
We have produced a new catalogue and almanack (for 2011–2012) and will be distributing copies primarily at book fairs, conferences, lectures, and other public events, and will send a copy to anyone who buys books from our website. A description and some pictures of it can be seen on the Eye blog.
This week at the Frankfurt Book Fair our books will be at the stand of our Dutch distributor, Coen Sligting: Halle 4.1, N547. You can see an advance copy of David Wild’s Jazzpaths, as well as all copies of the recent titles. Further, Coen Sligting will have copies of our catalogue & almanack for 2011–2012.
The long-delayed and much-anticipated second edition of this book is now in the last stages of production: it was printed yesterday and now goes to the binder. We expect that copies will go on sale in Europe at the end of this month. Read more
We are working on a book, with the title Isotype, which will provide an extensive and detailed history of the work in graphic communication produced under the direction of Otto Neurath. This is a collection of freshly written and fully illustrated essays, supplemented by documents published for the first time in English translation or in transcription. The full extent of Isotype work is covered, from 1925 in Vienna, through the years in The Hague (1934–40), to the period in England up to the closure of production in 1971. The book contains discussion of the beginnings of the work in Vienna, its ‘graphic language’, and its connections with artistic production of that time. There are accounts of the uses to which Isotype was put in the USSR, in the USA, and in Africa. Isotype in film and in children’s books are considered in other contributions. Authors of these essays are Benjamin Benus, Christopher Burke, Hisayasu Ihara, Eric Kindel, Robin Kinross, Emma Minns, and Sue Walker. Read more
One way of finding text on this website is via the search function (in the right column of every page). This will get you to any word that has been written anywhere on the website. Here is a more intelligible and selective guide: an index to the main, discursive pieces in the journal pages, to date (end-June 2011). Pieces have been grouped rather crudely by theme, and then are alphabetically ordered by title. (See now the updated index here.) Read more
Every publisher or author’s dream is to see someone reading their book on the bus or underground train. This really happened to us with Jost Hochuli’s Detail in typography. (Thanks to Sara de Bondt for the photograph.) Read more
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 machenid=88, published by VGS St. Gallen, are still available.
Human space, our edition of O.F. Bollnow’s Mensch und Raum, is at last finished. We signed the contract with the publishers of the originating edition, Verlag W. Kohlhammer, in December 2005! Apart from the work of translating the text, making this edition proved to be a demanding task, with a whole set of knotty editorial problems to be resolved. But we are pleased with the final result. Our translation, by Christine Shuttleworth, aims for an ordinary, jargon-free text. So too, Joseph Kohlmaier’s afterword goes to the heart of the book’s present status, opening it up to a wide audience, and passing beyond the specialists who may lay claim to it. Read more
Paul Stiff died in Reading last Saturday. He was a great friend, over 35 years, and shared in much of what has issued from Hyphen Press – especially, of course, Typography papers. A full account of him and his work will be published here in due course. Meanwhile, merely following the necessity of editorial-update, his too-brief author’s description has been put into the past tense.
A short report, with the introductory remarks by Robin Kinross and Eric Kindel, and Christopher Burke’s more substantial exposition of the making of our edition, can now be found on the ‘Isotype revisited’ website.
We get quite frequent enquiries about Typography papers: which issues are still available? how best to try to get hold of out-of-print numbers? contents of the back numbers? And, from subscription agencies: please send us the issue for 2010! We do our best to tell this last kind of enquirer that, from quite early on (after the third issue), Typography papers stopped trying for annual publication and adopted a ’continuing but not annual’ approach: it would appear as and when enough good material had been gathered and the editorial-production group had the time and energy to bring it out. Read more
On Thursday 20 January, thanks to the kind hospitality of the Austrian Cultural Forum in London, we are launching From hieroglyphics to Isotype. The ACF in Knightsbridge is a short walk away from the Victoria & Albert Museum, where, until 13 March, you can see the splendid exhibition Isotype: International Picture Language. This show makes an excellent introduction to Isotype; also a substantial one, illustrated and embodied in a good sample of material from the Isotype archive at the University of Reading.
Three books and a music CD have been published in the last couple of months. There will be a pause for breath now. The first books in 2011 should be the much-delayed book by Bollnow, Fred Smeijers’s revised Counterpunch, and the reprinted Unjustified texts.
We do now have copies of the new edition of Printed matter / Drukwerk in the office. North Americans, Australians, New Zealanders please note: we have distributors in your territories and copies are even now on their way there. Copies of this book have been with our Dutch distributor for some days already. UK-residing readers: you don’t need to go up the Amazon: please use your local bookshop; or we can supply to the more far-flung locations. We have made a lot of copies.
The book Modern typography has just been reprinted and copies are on sale now. We have made corrections and updates in the text, and have taken to the chance to vary some of the pictures in the ‘Examples’ chapter.
We have had many enquiries about this book. So, further to the last post here: the first batch of books has been bound and is now waiting to be put into boxes. Boxes of the right size are being made to fit a reasonable number of copies of the book. It will be some weeks from now before the books are packed and before they reach the warehouses of the various distributors.
Nun komm!, our recently released music CD, has been given an ‘outstanding’ award by International Record Review in its November issue. IRR is by some distance the most serious recorded music publication in the UK, so this is a significant compliment. On this occasion we share the honour with some notable labels, including Harmonia Mundi and Decca. Marc Rochester’s review could hardly be more understanding and appreciative: he really gets what this group is doing. It can be read on our page for the CD. Read more
In December an exhibition presenting the history of Isotype opens at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The show is largely based on material from the Isotype Collection at the University of Reading and is one issue of the ‘Isotype revisited’ project there. Our edition of Otto Neurath’s ‘visual autobiography’ is another.
We are selling copies of a CD of music for viola d’amore, issued this month on the German label Genuin. Two of the musicians on the recording, Anne Schumann and Alison McGillivray, play regularly with The Bach Players and so belong to our extended family. We are glad to extend the scope of our CD-shop in this way.
On the occasion of an exhibition about Jan I Moretus – the Moretus in ‘Plantin-Moretus’ – Fred Smeijers is giving a public lecture on ‘present-day typography’ at the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp on 28 October. More information here.
On Thursday 28 October (7.30 pm) at the Highgate Library in Chester Road, London N19, Robin Kinross will be speaking about his work with Hyphen Press. He will spend a good part of the evening looking at books from the library’s stock and thinking aloud about ordinary book production: what is acceptable, what is not so good, what is unremarkable but OK, and so on, in typesetting, printing, and binding.
The third edition of Karel Martens’s Printed matter / Drukwerk is being printed by Thoben in Nijmegen now; sheets will then be sent to the binders, Hendricks–Lützenkirchen in Kleve, across the border in Germany. The binding will be done in batches and will take some weeks, but we should have copies at the end of this month – just in time for the Frankfurt bookfair. Read more
Copies of Otto Neurath’s ‘visual autobiography’ arrived in London a few days ago. The book has been designed and its pages made by one of its editors, Christopher Burke; it was printed by Die Keure in Bruges and bound by SVK Boekbinderij, also in Belgium. Unusually for us, the book is a cloth-covered hardback, with a loose jacket. We felt that we should give this degree of permanence to the first full publication of Neurath’s text. Three different papers are used in the book, to distinguish and support the three main sections: the introductory material, Neurath’s text, and an appendix that shows a sample of his extraordinary collection of visual material. The book goes on sale in Europe at the end of this month. Copies are now just starting their journey by ship to our distributors in North America. Read more
Last December, Michel Aphesbero and Thomas Boutoux came to London to interview Robin Kinross, for the rosab.net web-magazine, made at the École des beaux-arts de Bordeaux. The interview lasts for 51 minutes and is slow stuff, but has things not told in public before. But first you have to find it: wait for the page to load, then zoom out – a lot!, then scroll to the left and you will see ‘A studio visit to Robin Kinross in London’.
We have opened a twitter account, with the promise to restrict it to hard news.
The pamphlet can be seen here at the Werkplaats Typografie, Arnhem, posted in a way that makes sense. (Thanks to KM.) Read more
We are at the London Book Fair next week, with a metre-width of space at stand E200.
As from today, our CDs are being distributed to the trade by Harmonia Mundi UK. We will still, of course, be selling them from this website and at concerts and other events.
Our exhibition at International Project Space opened last Saturday and will be there until 8 May. The show could be an occasion for a visit to the model village of Bourneville. In some respects the exhibition tries to be a model too. Of necessity it is small, but it has a certain argument, and shows not just the books we have published, but also some of those that have provided inspiration; one case is devoted to working materials. Visitors can sit and look through a selection of the books, and they can also listen to some of the music we publish and distribute. Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more
On 24 March Peter Campbell will be in conversation with Julian Bell, another painter and writer about art, at the London Review Bookshop.
This Friday the lively events programme at the St Bride Library offers a conference on Design for music / Music and design. Another strong reason to get to St Bride’s this week: to catch the splendid ‘Designing information before designers’ exhibition before it closes.
Last Saturday morning, the two Bach Players CDs were included in a roundup of recent Bach recordings on BBC Radio 3’s ‘CD Review’ programme (one can listen back to this on the BBC website for the rest of this week). Presenter Andrew McGregor had good words to say about the discs, and he found time to play three whole tracks to represent their great diversity of material. He also summed up why these discs are different from the average classical music CD: each is shaped by an idea, and the varied component parts work together to represent that idea. So they go a different route from the familiar ones of presenting similar pieces by a single composer, or stringing together pieces to showcase a certain artist. McGregor said: ’It’s a lovely way of providing a different kind of context for Bach’s music, especially with Hugh Wood’s thoughtfully illuminating notes. The Bach Players have gone an unusual route with these recordings, teaming up not with an established label but with a book publisher specializing in design – Hyphen Press. Bach arranging and arranged is the first volume, Every one a chaconne is the second; I hope there’ll be more.’ There will.
As from today we are reducing the price of Fred Smeijers’s Type now, from £17.50 to £10. The book was made on the occasion of the award of the Gerrit Noordzij prize to Smeijers and surveys his work up to then (November 2003). Given Fred’s remarkable productivity as a designer, one might say that this survey is out of date. But a large part of the book is addressed more generally to the conditions of making typefaces now, culminating in a manifesto for designers in the digital age. This discussion, we think, hasn’t been superseded – or discussed enough. So the book is still worth getting. We are working now on a second edition of Fred Smeijers’s Counterpunch. The changes will be significant: certainly enough to make those who have the first edition want to have the second too.
Books are zero-rated for Value Aded Tax in the UK, but CDs are not. From this week, the rate of VAT on CDs goes up from 15 to 17.5 per cent. This has prompted us to raise the price of the Hyphen Press Music CDs from £14 to £15. But, given the present exchange rates of the UK-pound to the euro and most other currencies, this may not mean much to buyers outside the UK: one would still pay significantly more on the European continent for CDs of this kind.
Thanks to everyone who sent greetings and good wishes for the new year. If we haven’t acknowledged you, it’s only because we’re buried in the processes of making and selling books and CDs. This year should see at least one major new work published (to be announced here soon), and the reappearance of some tried-and-tested books from the back catalogue.
Every one a chaconne, the new release from Hyphen Press Music, is Editor’s Choice of new vocal CDs – with five stars (= ‘exceptional’) – in the January 2010 issue of Classic FM magazine. Opening his perceptive remarks, Andrew Stewart writes: ’There’s something about the openness of sound, the sheer quality of music-making and the sense of connection between performers and composers that makes this a very special recording.’ Elsewhere, the magazine suggests: ’It’s heartening in these cash-strapped times to see our Editor’s Choice slot occupied by a brand-new British label. If you choose to buy the recording, you’ll be supporting a great venture and your ears will be in for a treat, too.’
We have received copies of the next book, Peter Campbell’s At …. This goes on sale officially at the end of this month. At … is a collection of the author’s columns about art, applied art, buildings, townscape, nature, and more, written for the London Review of Books. Campbell is a typographer and book designer, and illustrator, as well as now someone who writes for publication, and his work – the design, drawing, and writing – fits well with our idea of what aesthetics might be and do. The form of our book tries to live up to the standard of its text: accessible, humane, serviceable, well-made. Printed by Die Keure in Bruges, the binding is by Binderij Hexspoor and uses their Otabind process. Read more
The Hyphen Press catalogue for 2009–2010 was ready (as is traditional) just in time for the Frankfurt Book Fair. New books are announced here, and every in-print title is shown too. As with last year’s catalogue, at the centre is an ‘almanack’ of texts and images that relate to our new publications. Read more
During the present postal strike in the UK supply of books and CDs ordered from the website may be slow. The action has, so far, been limited to short periods, and mail is still being collected and delivered.
On Thursday 5 November (while the English are busy letting off fireworks), if you are in Zurich there is a chance to learn more about E.C. Large. Roland Früh will be at the Corner College, to present our books by and about Large. The mycologist Patrick Romanens will also be talking. Our books will be on sale, and those attending will have a rare chance to see some of Large’s paintings of British toadstools.
An exhibition of the work of the English printer Desmond Jeffery opens at the St Bride Library in London tonight. This is the first chance for the public to see something of his production. Read more
The Helvetic Centre in London is again organizing a show of the ‘most beautiful Swiss books’. The exhibition opens this Sunday with a party – guest speaker Laurenz Brunner – and runs for just four days at Cafe Oto in Dalston. On Thursday 29th, the last evening, there will be a round-table discussion of questions raised by the show. Also on display will be some of the best British books of the year. They should offer instructive contrasts with the Swiss books; certainly this will provide a very rare sighting of a cultural phenomenon once discussed on this website.
In another of those warehouse discoveries, a few copies of the late Peter Burnhill’s Type spaces have come to light, after we had declared it out of print here (our North American distributor still has some left). There are several reasons to get hold of this book, which we are unlikely now to reprint. The most important reason is that, in effect, it puts forward a new theory of typography. Along the way, you can find advice on how to determine linespacing (‘leading’); after digesting this you will never need to spend time agonizing over this fundament of text-setting. And the book is a model of industrial production, especially in its binding. These last few copies are for sale only from this website. Read more
This week we received copies of Modern typography in Britain: a very packed and rich set of discussions, which will surely come to define its still too little comprehended subject. The book is at the same time Typography papers 8, and continues Typography papers’s work of publishing fully serious, lively and comprehensible articles. Read more
One of the most pleasing aspects of publishing is to see translated editions of your books appearing. Italian, Spanish, and now Korean editions of Modern typography have been made in recent years. Meanwhile our own second edition of the work is out of print and awaiting a reprint, with corrections and small updatings. We hope that that book can be made later this year. Read more
The next Hyphen book, Modern typography in Britain: graphic design, politics, and society – a special issue of Typography papers (no. 8) – is now at the printers. It will be published in September.
We now have copies of this book, which this month goes on sale generally in the UK, the Netherlands, and elsewhere in Europe. It is of course also for sale from our website. Those in North America – to whom we can’t sell from the website – will need to wait at least a couple of months before the books reach our distributor’s warehouse there. The book joins the Hyphen small-format paperback series: this one comes with flaps and an Otabind binding. Read more
‘Einzelgängers’ – it takes one to know one. Hyphen Press Music is joint winner of the best record label of 2009 in the Prelude Classical Music Awards 2009. This is the annual poll conducted by Kees Koudstal, who is both chairman of the jury and its only member.
For a foretaste of Typography papers 8, have a look at Paul Stiff’s ‘Mitteleuropa and Bethnal Green’ (‘Mitteleuropa’ = Central Europe). TP8 is a special issue of the irregular but still serial publication, and for once it will carry a title or subtitle: ‘Modern typography in Britain: graphic design, politics and society’.
Under this splendid title, a conference on the ‘norms, formats, supports’ of publishing (in a wide sense) was held a couple of weeks ago in Bordeaux. After a thousand design conferences devoted to the ‘new’ and the ‘innovative’, it was refreshing to come across one devoted to things that don’t change – or only change every now and then. It was refreshing too to find discussion that recognized the political embededness of this fundamental, sometimes invisible aspect of designing. Read more
Further good notices have appeared. Read more
This website has been offline for the last three days, for inexplicable technical reasons, but is now restored.
From this week to the end of June, Robin Kinross is living and working in the Netherlands: taking up this year’s Fellowship at the Konkinklijke Bibliotheek [Royal Library]. The position is run jointly by the KB and the NIAS (Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences). Building on a theme of his book Modern typography, Kinross is doing research on paper sizes and their standardization. His only duty is to prepare a public lecture on his topic, to be delivered (and also published as a pamphlet) in June. Meanwhile the Hyphen Press office is being run by his assistant, Roland Früh. Work on the new books goes on. The transformer has this week reached page-proof stage.
Early public reactions to our first CD – given the hopeful catalogue number HMP 001 – have been encouraging. Read more
Bach arranging and arranged, the first recording by The Bach Players, and the first issue from Hyphen Press Music, is now finished and awaiting formal release next month. Read more
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.
We have received our first copies of Sugar in the air and Asleep in the afternoon. Our accompanying book, God’s amateur, is with the printers now: we expect an advance supply of it in a few days’ time. The three books will be formally published in early December, after the main shipment of the novels is with our UK distributor. Read more
On 24 October, Christopher Burke is speaking, in a Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies Seminar, on ‘Otto and Marie Neurath in Exile’.
On 15 October, in a talk at this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival, Robin Kinross will attempt to explain what typography is.
Not for the first time in the history of publishing, a book that had been declared ‘out of print’ makes a return to availability. We have discovered 25 copies of Counterpunch (the edition of 1996) at the bottom of a box, covered by copies of another book. We are glad to be able to sell these now from this website (only). After these copies have sold, there really will be none left. Read more
We are now selling copies of the book Edward Wright: readings, writings, published last year by the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading.
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. Read more
We are opening a new music department of Hyphen Press. Later this year the first of a series of CDs by The Bach Players will be issued on the label of Hyphen Press Music. There may be connections between this group and its approach to performance, and Hyphen Press and its approach to making books. But rather than try to spell this out in the abstract, it should be enough to say that the CDs will be enjoyable, and rather special. As a starter we are selling an already available CD from another area of music: Morton Feldman jazz tributes published by Chris Villars, editor of Morton Feldman says. This too is a special production, and a very enjoyable one.
We have just received finished copies of our new catalogue of books. This is the first full printed catalogue we have made. Every in-print title is represented, in specially made photographs, and there is a retrospective display of the covers of all the titles we have produced. Bound into the booklet is an ‘almanack’ of short texts. Read more
Among the speakers at the Friends of St Bride Library Conference on 15 and 16 May is Karel Martens. He will show some of his (very) short movies and then engage in unpremeditated dialogue with Robin Kinross.
We are present at the London Book Fair (14–16 April) c/o our new UK distributor, Publishers Group UK. Go to stand i205 to see some books and the new catalogue.
From the beginning of April our books will be distributed in the UK by Publishers Group UK. After many years with Central Books we are sad to be leaving them. But PGUK will provide a combined sales and warehousing service: the books should get into the shops more.
We are announcing some new titles for publication in the course of 2008, which will add more than just numbers to the list. Read more
Alastair Johnston, printer & publisher in Berkeley CA, but of UK origins, has collected more than twenty years’ worth of his occasional writings. The central theme of the pieces is the small press poetry scene on the West Coast and in the UK since the 1960s, with a sprinkling of articles on typography and publishing elsewhere, including a few that come from another of Johnston’s spheres: serious printing history. Read more
This building, designed by David Wild, is now very near to completion: it provides an artist’s studio and connecting top-lit rooms arranged in an interlocking L-shaped configuration.
Prompted by this nice review, we can confirm that a second edition of the book is in preparation. We hope to publish later this year: busy schedules permitting. Fred Smeijers is revising the text, to take account of new evidence and to include some of his further thoughts. The original files of the book have been lost, so we would have had to remake the pages in any event. This necessary fresh start is stimulating plans for the design of the new edition.
From today you can buy books directly from this website. We hope this service will be useful, especially to buyers who live away from the metropolis, and in areas that our distributors do not reach. (Customers in North and South America, Australia, the Netherlands, should still buy from bookshops or from our distributors there.) Please let us know what you think of the service.
On 15 November a presentation of the new ‘Historical-Critical Edition’ of Franz Kafka’s writings will take place at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, followed by a panel (and open) discussion. On display will be some of the manuscripts concerned. The occasion is convened by the Bodleian Library, which has key holdings of Kafka manuscripts. The edition itself is edited by Roland Reuß and Peter Staengle of the Institut für Textkritik at Heidelberg. For details of the event, see here and here. Read more
The Zurich Bible was published in a new translation this year. This is the Bible in its Swiss-Protestant text, first published in 1531. Not only is it a bestseller (26,000 copies sold since June), but it must be one of the best-looking and best-made books published anywhere for some time. Some bare statistics of the edition shown here hint at its qualities: weighs 1 kg, page size is 20 × 13 cm, number of pages is 1,950. This edition sells for €13.80. Read more
‘… meticulously researched, splendidly illustrated, and very nicely designed – without doubt the new standard work on Tschichold … even experts will find new and surprising things in it.’ Thus Florian G in Zurich, writing today in the German-language TypoForum on Christopher Burke’s Active literature.
To coincide with the launch of Christopher Burke’s new book, we have put a new jacket on the remaining copies of his first book, Paul Renner. This allows us to give its revised price (on the back), and to change the design. The picture of Renner on the old jacket was frequently misunderstood, and we have replaced it with a relatively uncontentious image. The new colour is perhaps more suited to this dignified and upstanding Prussian.
We have received the first copies of Typography papers 7 in the office. It looks fine. Four-colour printing is used, for only the second time in Typography papers, for some pictures in Sue Walker’s article on letterforms for young readers in early twentieth-century English publications, and for a remarkable diagram made by Brian Coe, as part of the work of the Graphic Information Research Unit at the Royal College of Art, remembered in an article by Linda Reynolds, its chief researcher. Silver ink is used as a third colour on the cover, to reproduce the letter-stencil that is the subject of Eric Kindel’s article. The issue leads with a path-breaking article on ‘The young Garamont’ by Hendrik Vervliet, and includes also spirited pieces by Giovanni Lussu and the late Justin Howes. Copies of Typography papers 7 should reach our London warehouse in early August, and can then be bought (as usual) through good bookshops. It will be released in North America in the early autumn, when copies arrive at our distributor’s warehouse there. Read more
This week we received copies of Christopher Burke’s new book. It has been well printed by Die Keure in Bruges and well bound (with cold glue!) by Van Waarden in Zaandam. Perhaps it’s one of the very few (fingers of one hand?) books about Tschichold whose design & production values might bear comparison with the books that he himself brought into the world. This is to say only that it’s a work of ordinary industrial production that uses sympathetic materials, and whose design is in the European mainstream that Tschichold so largely helped to define. The official date of release in Europe is 2 August. Copies should reach our North American distributor in September or so. Read more
On Tuesday of this week, Christopher Burke talked in London on ‘Jan Tschichold: the missing typefaces’ to the Friends of St Bride Library. Speaking without notes, and in full command of his subject, he described and analysed the previously almost unconsidered typeface designs that Tschichold made in the 1930s. Prompted by the need for extra income in the difficult years of economic crisis in Germany, and then of his emigration to Switzerland, Tschichold offered some frankly commercial designs to a number of typefoundries. This was despite his belief, sometimes expressed in his writings, that such new typefaces were dubious affairs motivated by the pressures of capitalist competition, and perhaps just not necessary at all. A slightly later and also larger commission was his design of typefaces for the early photocomposition machine, the Uhertype. Read more
In connection with his forthcoming book Active literature, Christopher Burke will be talking on 19 June at the St Bride Printing Library in London on ‘Jan Tschichold: the missing typefaces’. An exhibition at the Library of work by Tschichold, curated by Christopher Burke and Robin Kinross, will open then and be on display through to 23 August. Go here for more information.
The faculty of architecture at the TU Delft commissioned Karel Martens to design booklets, flyers, stationery, and a poster for their series of six seminars this spring on ‘Architecture, Modernity and the Public Sphere’. Martens, working in collaboration with his daughter Aagje Martens, took up the implications of the title ‘Architectural Positions’, and the need to make flyers and booklets for the six occasions and for the series as a whole, but on a small budget. Just three printing plates were used for the colour printing, each containing two of the pieces; colour (cyan, magenta, yellow) was changed three times. In this way six different combinations or ‘positions’ were obtained. The black text is stable and clear. This patterning is enacted again in the website for the series. Not for the first time with this designer, the restrictions were embraced, with maximum effect. Read more
We are taking part in the London Book Fair, at Earls Court, from 16 to 18 April. Find our books at the stand of our representatives, Troika, stand Z640.
The Hyphen Press website appears today in a new form. There are many added and altered features, providing much content beyond the simple description of the books we publish. The old ‘Column’ section – which in retrospect seems to have been a sort of proto-blog – is now made more visible, and will become a backbone of the new website. It is now called ‘Journal’, and includes short pieces of news about Hyphen activities, comments on and links to things that interest us, and some longer articles. All the text on the site is searchable. The books are now shown in photographs, rather than scans, and we will provide downloads of sample pages. Later this year we plan to add a shop from which books can be bought online. Read more
Peter Burnhill died in hospital at Stafford on Sunday 11 March, aged 84. We will publish something here soon about him and his work.
An exhibition of Edward Wright’s design work opened yesterday at the Department of Typography in the University of Reading. For two months or so, the public has the chance to see some of the products and working materials of this special man, who in the spirit of the heroic modernists of the earlier twentieth century, did not pay much attention to boundaries between art and design. Yet – he was working in mid-century Britain, and in situations that were often pretty torpid. Read more
James Mosley has welcomed the new year by adding two substantial posts to his blog Typefoundry: an update on his thesis about the appearance of sanserif letters in eighteenth-century Britain; and an explanation of why the inscription recently added to the National Gallery in London is all wrong. This latest post deserves wide circulation in the blogosphere – not to mention the wider culture of the UK.
Some of the video material shot by David Reid at our concert for the presentation of Morton Feldman says has now been posted on YouTube. Read more
Feldman is among the featured composers at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Tomorrow afternoon (19 November), Chris Villars is speaking about his engagement with Feldman’s music. Coinciding with this, two articles by the composer Christopher Fox have been published: a general introduction to Feldman in The Guardian, and a review article about the book in the Musical Times (autumn 2006) – online only this way. Read more
A symposium on Otto Neurath and the after-effects of his visual work (Isotype) will be held on 31 October at Stroom Den Haag. Among those speaking are Frank Hartmann, Robin Kinross, Kristóf Nyíri, and Femke Snelting.
Last month the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing – SHARP – held its annual gathering over several days (11–15 July) in The Hague. The hosting was shared between the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague and the University of Leiden. Both are now active in the field of book history. At Leiden one can do an MA in Book and Digital Media Studies, while the KB manages the Bibliopolis project, an online history of the printed book in the Netherlands. The event offered a now familiar conference mix of a few highly polished and interesting plenary lectures by star performers, a huge number of short (twenty-minute) talks mostly on highly specific topics and in which empirical digging usually outweighs critical thought, plus quite a bit of enjoyable schmoozing at receptions and refreshment breaks. Read more
An edition of Modern typography in Italian, translated by Giovanni Lussu and published at the end of last year by the Stampa Alternativa & Graffiti, is now available from Aiap.
After much delay, copies of Typography papers 6 are available for sale in Europe.
In collaboration with the graphic design practice Polimekanos we are planning to publish books that can be placed in areas contingent to design, which illuminate design, and which are also good contributions to their own fields. The present programme of publishing on design will continue alongside the new branch. The first of this Hyphen New Series, as we are calling it, is Morton Feldman says: a book of interviews with and lectures by the American composer Morton Feldman. It will be launched on Friday 24 March at the Conway Hall in London, with a concert of Feldman’s music, readings from the book, and a reception.
Last Friday, while a twenty-four-hour tempest of near-Shakespearean strength blew across the Dutch coastline, Gerrit Noordzij launched his book with a lively seminar in The Hague, at his old home of the Royal Academy of Art. Students from the Academy’s Type & Media course were there, as were some of Gerrit’s old students, and the occasion was introduced by one of the earliest of them, the designer Huug Schipper. We were given a good taste of the Noordzijan pedagogy and skill at the black-(actually green-)board. The author then conducted a virtuoso book-signing session. For a nice record of the event, see the slide show at Anno Fekes’s Vide.
We now have printed sheets of The stroke; finished copies should be available in Europe before the end of the month. Typography papers 6 is running as late as its quality will be high; we expect finished copies in December.
From this month, Hyphen Press books are represented to the book-trade by Troika.
A new forthcoming title is added to this website today: an English-language edition of Gerrit Noordzij’s De streek. The book appeared first in Dutch in 1985 and was reprinted in 1991. As Noordzij explains in his foreword to the original book, it takes some steps on from his earlier work, the English-language The stroke of the pen (published by the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, 1982). For our edition, the Dutch text of 1985 has been translated by Peter Enneson (in Toronto), working in dialogue with Noordzij. We hope to publish by late September.
An appreciation of the book by Jacques André is published in La Lettre Gutenberg (number 29), with some lamentations about how such a work could not possibly be published in France. He concludes: ‘Ce qui est très rare sur ce sujet et qui sera donc la référence désormais. Livre indispensable donc …’ André expresses a wish for Burnhill’s research to be extended. In fact this is happening just now in Leipzig, where Fred Smeijers is, with his students, testing the theory of a unified system of measurement. We hope to publish the results in due course.
A long review of the book is published in the current (number 309) issue of Idea magazine. This piece, extending over 16 pages, is written by Taro Yamamoto, who manages the Japanese typography section of Adobe Systems. Yamamoto suggests that ‘by revising his original edition and publishing a second edition, he [Kinross] has demonstrated that he has continued to think critically’: a pleasing remark about a book that was always intended to be a prompt to reflection and action, rather than some definitive text.
As well as Typography papers 6, expected now in early summer of this year, we are working on two new titles: the first English-language edition of a work of fundamental thinking, and an extended and fully documented critique of one of the eternally unresolved topics of typography. Full details will be revealed in due course.
The much delayed second edition of Robin Kinross’s Modern typography is now finished and available.
We are very pleased to announce that Hyphen Press is taking over publication of Typography papers: the distinguished, occasional, book-length work from the Department of Typography, University of Reading. In-print back numbers can now be ordered from Central Books. The next issue (number 6) is due for publication in spring 2005.
The first ‘Martens book’ is out of print now, and we will not reprint it. But this new title is just going into production. It should be in the shops before summer begins.
In an unusually perceptive appreciation of the book in his ‘Schrift & Charakter’ column (Institut für Textkritik), Roland Reuß defends Burnhill against the charge of over-interpretation (‘the usual objection when someone has thoroughly reflected on something and the public is ashamed’), and even suggests that our book can bear comparison, in its production, with its Aldine subjects. But some hundreds of the public have gone so far as to buy this item; a reprint is being planned.
Coen Sligting in Amsterdam now has a representative in the Nordic countries. Booksellers in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, should send requests for books and orders to sligting[at]xs4all.nl.
Last month Fred Smeijers spoke about his work to an enthusiastic and packed audience. The exhibition ‘Fred Smeijers: work so far’ will continue at the St Bride Institute through into May (check with the Library to make sure it is open on the day you intend to go: telephone 020 7353 4660). Copies of Type now can still be bought at the exhibition. Meanwhile we congratulate Fred on his elevation to a professorship at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst at Leipzig.
On Tuesday 16 March at the St Bride Institute, London, Fred Smeijers will give a public lecture on the theme of ‘type now’. On that day also, the exhibition ‘Fred Smeijers: work so far’ will be opened at the St Bride Printing Library: a rare chance to see the work of a type designer on display in London. We will be selling copies of the book Type now at the talk and exhibition, for a not-to-be-repeated special price.
Greetings to friends and colleagues for the new year. Instead of a greetings card, you may like to look at a snowy image of the place in which we now work, run by Workplace Co-operative 115 Ltd. The project is shown also in the current (December 2003) issue of Domus magazine, with an article by Tanya Harrod on the building and the intentions behind it. New titles are in the pipeline for publication by Hyphen in 2004–5, and will be announced here soon
All Hyphen Press books can now be bought direct from the website of our UK distributor, Central Books.
Robin Kinross is giving a talk with this title at the Information Design Histories conference at Coventry (UK), 10 December 2003 (Communication Research Institute of Australia), in which, among other things, he will argue against arguments that he presented at the first Information Design conference, held at Cranfield (UK) in 1984. The title of that earlier talk was ‘The rhetoric of neutrality’.
Type now, made at top speed, was finished just in time for its presentation on 17 October at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. It goes on sale in Europe now. The exhibition ‘Fred Smeijers: work so far’ was opened last week too. It runs for three weeks, to Saturday 8 November, on which day Fred’s theses will be debated in an open seminar at the Royal Academy. Read more
We are spending the hot summer indoors, working hard on new titles. The latest to be announced is Type now by Fred Smeijers. This will consist of an essay on the present situation in type design, fifteen or so years into the ‘PostScript revolution’, together with a colour section showing Fred’s own work as a designer. The book is due to be launched on 17 October at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. On this day three components of the Gerrit Noordzij Prize will be manifested: an exhibition of the work of Fred Smeijers, the launch of this book, and the award of the next (third) GNP to Erik Spiekermann.
The next Hyphen Press title to be published will be Peter Burnhill’s Type spaces. Page make-up and proofing of the book is in its final stages.
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.
Unjustified texts is available in Europe now. In North America, copies will be in bookshops at the end of January. In his ‘Schrift & Charakter’ column (Institut für Textkritikhttp), Roland Reuß discusses the book, together with another Hyphen work: Christopher Burke’s Paul Renner.
At the ATypI conference in Rome last week, three Hyphen authors spoke. Robin Kinross gave a talk around the themes of his book Modern typography, ten years on from its first publication; he is now limbering up to revise and expand the text for a new edition. In another strand of discussion, Eric Kindel and Fred Smeijers presented their ‘historical action research’ into the making of stencil letters for the production of books.
An exhibition of the work of the Werkplaats Typografie (Arnhem) will open at the end of June at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, running through to September. To coincide with this, a book is being made: In alphabetical order, edited by ex-Werkplaats participant Stuart Bailey. Among its contents are texts by Anthony Froshaug, Norman Potter, Robin Kinross, Melle Hammer and Paul Elliman – which represent a lineage of ideas and approaches that inform this kind of workshop education. The publisher is NAi Uitgevers in Rotterdam.
We are posting a new column today. This is a survey, written by Linda Eerme and Robin Kinross for Domus magazine, of the present state of publishing in architecture and design.
Our reprint of Harry Carter’s A view of early typography: up to about 1600 is published in Europe today. In some weeks’ time copies will be available in North and South America, via Princeton Architectural Press, and in Australia, via Books at Manic.
The new editions of Karel Martens: printed matter / drukwerk and of Norman Potter’s What is a designer are now finished and have been published in Europe. Copies of both titles are on their way to the USA and will be available this spring in North and South America through Princeton Architectural Press.
The new edition of Norman Potter’s What is a designer is set in the typeface Arnhem, designed by Fred Smeijers. Arnhem was designed and developed from 1998 onwards for a redesign of the Nederlandse Staatscourant that was undertaken by the Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem (thus the name). In the end, for familiar reasons of commissioning ‘cold feet’, the typeface was not adopted by the client, but Fred Smeijers finished it anyway and is now preparing to release it commercially himself. Arnhem has a wonderful dignity, indeed stateliness, and yet has the now familiar friendly accessibility that characterizes all of Fred’s work. We are also using it for the new matter of Carter’s View and for Kinross’s Unjustified texts.
David Wild is making a rare return to academic life this autumn, as visiting professor in the architecture department at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville). On 5 November he will give a lecture there on the themes of the book. And before this, on 29 October, he will talk at Columbia University, New York.
In North and South America, all Hyphen Press titles are now distributed by Princeton Architectural Press. In Australia, all titles are distributed by Books at Manic.
We are planning a reprint of Harry Carter’s A view of early typography: up to about 1600. This marvellous book is a fundamental work of typographic history. The text of a set of lectures given by Carter in 1968, it is written in peerless, lapidary prose. A view was published first in 1969 by Oxford University Press. The book has been out of print for years, and Oxford have now granted permission for this reprint, which is due for publication in spring 2002.
On 26 May at the Sunday Times literature festival at Hay-on-Wye, in the Welsh-English borderlands, Christopher Burke will be speaking on ‘Typography’. Will this be the first contribution by a typographer at a UK books jamboree? In some perverse compliment to him, Burke’s lecture is scheduled to coincide with more traditional fare – a talk by the historical romancer, Louis de Bernières.
The second issue of Dot Dot Dot is just out. Among the more directly Hyphen-related contents are a review of Anthony Froshaug by Paul Barnes, and an article by Robin Kinross on ‘The uses of failure’. A remark by Froshaug, ‘I should not like to celebrate my death, laid out on a coffee table’, provides a motto for the whole issue, which breathes a very fresh spirit.
The Gerrit Noordzij Prize 2001 was awarded to Fred Smeijers in a meeting at the Konklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague. The prize was first given in 1996, to Noordzij himself, during the ATypI meeting there. With this second award, the institution became more clearly defined: the previous winner makes an object to give to the new winner, and holds an exhibition of his work. Usually this will take place in the Meermanno Museum (Museum of the Book) in The Hague, though it was being refitted and was thus out of action for this occasion. As well as the prize giving, the afternoon’s celebrations included a short ‘laudatio’ given by Robin Kinross for Fred Smeijers, and the presentation of Gerrit Noordzij’s long-awaited book, De handen van de zeven zusters, published by Van Oorschot in Amsterdam. Of all the Dutch type designers, Fred stands nearest to Gerrit, in his conjunction of strong hand-skills and fearless independent public thinking. The prize is due to be given again early in 2003, when Fred Smeijers will hand a gift to the new winner, and be the subject of an exhibition and small publication.
After too many months of languishing in outdated and bug-filled form, this website now reappears in a ‘second edition’, thanks to the energy and commitment of designer-programmer Matt Patterson. All the information has been checked through and updated. We hope that visitors find it easier and more consistent in use. Two new ‘columns’ have been added, and we plan to add to this section more regularly
The new issue of Typography papers (no. 4), published by the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading contains an article by Peter Burnhill, ‘Type spaces’, and a symposium on these ideas. This is the first presentation of his research into the typography of Aldus Manutius. Burnhill finds a unified system of dimensions to be present there, as both a physical and a syntactic structuring device. A group of designers then respond to this thesis. We plan to publish Burnhill’s work fully, as a book. Meanwhile, readers are urged to get hold of this interim publication.
The architect and typographer Maurice Goldring died on this day. He had developed multiple sclerosis in the 1980s, and had then largely disappeared from the consciousness of his professional colleagues. Born in 1928, Goldring trained as an architect. In the early 1950s he went to Zurich to work with Max Bill, and was among those who joined in the physical construction of the Hochschule für Gestaltung buildings at Ulm. Then he became a student at the HfG Ulm in its first years, where he began to turn to typography. Back in England he worked in the early 1960s with the publications department of the Royal Institute of British Architects, before setting up his own practice in London. Goldring was a strong proponent of standards and standardization in typography. He had no formal connections with Hyphen Press, though he was a friend and colleague of Anthony Froshaug, Peter Burnhill, and (more distantly) Norman Potter. But, apart from this website, there can be few avenues for recording and honouring his life and work. We hope to produce a fuller record in due course.
The book was launched with a meeting at the Conway Hall in London. The ground floor of the hall was full, with people standing against the walls. The event was chaired by Ken Garland (an old student of Froshaug), who introduced two speakers: Tanya Harrod and Robin Kinross. Rick Poynor, due to speak also, was ill and could not attend (but see his review of the book in Eye, no. 38). Then contributions came from the people in the body of the hall: predominantly old students of Froshaug. The meeting then turned itself into a drinks party.
It is almost a year since the last news item was added. Several small bits of information on the site are out of date, and there are aspects of its design and functioning that need attention. We are now working on an overhaul, and hope to put up a ‘second edition’ in September. There will be two new columns, links to Amazon, and the whole thing will be reprogrammed to help viewing and also maintenance of the site. Meanwhile, we can report that Anthony Froshaug is with the printer. The book will be published in the UK on 12 October. We are planning an open meeting to launch the book: on 10 October at the Conway Hall, London WC1. Advance copies may also be available at the ATypI conference in Leipzig (we hope this event will happen!).
David Wild was invited to make a collage for the cover (front and back) of the 100th issue of the magazine Architecture Today (July 1999). His brief was to show 18 of the building projects featured in the preceding 99 issues of the magazine: readers were then invited to identify the buildings. The result is more of a patchwork image than he usually makes; but the piece is held together by a dream-like connecting thread. Inside the magazine, Wild is among the people asked in a symposium ‘where in the world would you choose to go back to?’ His answer: the Norris Dam, Tennessee, USA, remembering his trip there last year.
In the September issue of the magazine Lingua Franca (the bright and irreverent ‘review of academic life’, published from New York), the topic of the ‘breakthrough books’ column was design: ‘we asked five graphic designers to tell us about the best books in their field.’ One of them, Robin Kinross – evidently fed up with design – chose Benedict Anderson’s Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism and Jack Goody’s The domestication of the savage mind. Another, Steven Heller, greedily chose four books, one of which was Kinross’s Modern typography.
We are working hard towards publication of the next books, Anthony Froshaug and Typeform dialogues. They will appear in 2000. Please have patience, and understanding for the sisyphean labours of the small publisher. The wait will be worth it, we are sure. Beyond these books, we are planning a series of small-format paperbacks that will include a revised edition of What is a designer, a new edition of Modern typography, and other texts that have proved themselves.
A long interview between Petra Cerne Oven and Robin Kinross has just been published in Emzin, (vol. 9, nos. 1–2, 1999). This is a cultural review published in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The conversation concentrates on Kinross’s activities as a writer and publisher. The conversation was conducted in English (of course), and is published here in Slovenian translation. Another conversation covering similar territory, between Kinross and Florian Pumhoesl, was published in the Austrian cultural magazine Springer (vol. 3, no. 4, 1997–8). Both conversations are informal, occasionally unbuttoned, wide-ranging – of a kind that it is hardly possible to publish in the English-speaking design press. (Update: the conversation with Petra Cerne Oven is now available in English here.)
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.’
The London International Bookfair happens (28 to 30 March) in the airy halls of Olympia. We will be there, sharing stand G142 with Libris Books.
Choosing it as his the book of the year, the poet and editor Alan Ross wrote: ‘this is an exhilarating book of photo-montages, mainly on the subject of architecture, but with dazzling juxtaposed images using postcards, stamps, pin-ups, aeroplanes, sailors and footballers.’ This was in the refreshingly straightforward magazine The Oldie (something like the old Punch): maybe an appropriate forum in the year of David Wild’s sixtieth birthday.
Counterpunch is included in the exhibition ‘Mooi maar goed: graphic design in the Netherlands 1987–1998’ at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (16.01.99 to 28.02.99). This title (‘beautiful but good’) plays on the title of the ‘Goed maar mooi’ design exhibition organized by Willem Sandberg at the SM in 1949. Pieces by more than 100 designers are on display. All the usual suspects are there, and, as well as Fred Smeijers, two good friends of Hyphen Press are represented: Karel Martens (the series of standard telephone cards) and Martin Majoor (the national telephone books).
Since publishing Paul Renner in October, we have gone into quiet preparation mode, hoping to keep to the forecast of finishing Anthony Froshaug and Typeform dialogues in 1999. We also hope – before too long – to post some previously unpublished material in the ‘column’ on this site. Meanwhile, we wish readers, buyers, site-visitors, contributors, colleagues and friends: all the best for the new year (in whichever calendar).
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’.
The October issue of Items, the Dutch design magazine for Dutch designers, carries an article by Jan Middendorp on the work of Fred Smeijers, complete with a designer-stubble photo of the subject. (We resisted such an approach for the author’s picture on his book.) In the article itself, Fred is portrayed, accurately, as an advocate of ‘twenty-first-century traditionalism’.
The Hyphen edition of Christopher Burke’s book is now published. From January 1999, a co-edition for sale outside Europe will be available from Princeton Architectural Press.
Robin Kinross is contributing to the ‘Marking the text’ conference at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, England, 3–6 September 1998. The topic of his talk is ‘Judging a book by its material embodiment’.
Following the publication of his book, David Wild has been invited to deliver a plenary lecture at a conference on ‘Modern architecture: an incomplete project’, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA, 9–11 October 1998.
Norman Potter, the book’s author, died in November 1995, aged 72. Although the third edition of What is a designer went out of print last year, his book lives on. Spanish and Danish publishers are now embarking on translations. This has meant a revision and updating of the English text: a fourth English-language edition is under consideration.
The book is now officially out of print, though a few copies may be available still from Coen Sligting, our Dutch distributor. We do not plan to reprint in its present form, but a revised edition is being considered.
Word is getting out that this book is for digital people too (or maybe it is mainly for them?): ‘Counterpunch is a wonderful addition to the collection of any type designer’s library. Looking at the history of letter-making from the days of the old lead type you are able to learn the history of the art. The information that the author delivers in a direct, logical style has much bearing on the digital type design that is practiced by so many today. If you design type, or if you would like to start, this book will help you.’ Chris McGregor’s books of the month selection, March 1998, Internet Type Foundry Index.
The second printing of the Karel Martens: printed matter sold out in Europe within a few months in 1997. Made in the summer of 1996 for the award of the Heineken Prize for Art to Karel Martens, it was a book of that particular moment. The moment has passed, and we won’t make a further reprint. Remaining copies may still be obtainable from US bookshops. In competition with around 680 other books from all over the world, the book was awarded the highest prize – the ‘Goldene Blätter’ – at the book-design exhibition at the Leipzig Book Fair in March 1998. There will be a reprise of this event at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.