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Anthony Froshaug: Typography & texts / Documents of a life

Robin Kinross (editor)

  • ISBN


  • extent

    528 pp

  • binding

    sewn paperbacks in slip-case

  • dimensions

    240 x 170 mm

  • illustrations

    273 b&w + 86 colour pictures

Presents the work and life of this essential typographer, until now too little known outside the circle of his friends and students. Froshaug was a deep and charismatic thinker-practitioner, whose insights return us to the fundamentals of typography. The book consists of two interacting volumes: the solid record of the work is placed against the contingencies of the life. A traditional monograph is unsettled by an exploration in documentary.


Typography & texts

Preface & acknowledgements
Editorial conventions


A selection of work

World of plenty
Growing up in New Guinea
Life’s unfolding
Post haste
Chemical elements
Philosophy and the physicists
Greek science
Science at your service
Towards the codification of a standard for business letterheadings
The book as a means of communicating ideas
On typography
First conspectus
IPEX 1955
Visual methodology
From the notebook of a cybernetic novelist
Conference on design methods
Foundation course, Ulm 1953—61
Uppercase 5
Roadside traffic signs
Univers: a letter
Typographic norms
Between poetry and painting
College diploma course: visual communication
Experimental printing workshop, Watford
Typography is a grid
Asymmetric typography (1)
Asymmetric typography (2)
Asymmetric typography (3)
Asymmetric typography (4)
What is a designer (1)
What is a designer (2)
Pioneers of modern typography / Penrose 1970
Anatomy of printing / Printing 1770—1970
The social context of art
The field of a majuscule
Design is an exercise in analogy
Nineteenth-century ornamented typefaces
Two antitypes

Catalogue of work
Job progress sheets




Documents of a life


Central School
Cornish days (1)
War years
First exchanges with Stefan Themerson
Publishing Tschichold
Beginning to print
Senior lecturer
Jesse Collins
Notes for a book
Castle-an-Dinas West
Source papers
A type specimen
To Max Bill, and Ulm
At Ulm
Noughts + Crosses
The College
Method, signs, norms
The AA
Biography: Anthony Froshaug
Cornish days (2)
Teaching, mathematics, computing machines


This two-volume work retrieves and re-presents the English typographer Anthony Froshaug (1920–84): what he made, his ideas, his life. The two books are published as a set, selling for a single price.

Typography & texts concerns the work of Anthony Froshaug. A substantial introduction by Robin Kinross outlines the nature and achievement of Froshaug: idiosyncratic, but of fundamental importance to any serious practice of design. Then a selection of his printed products is shown in reproduction and with extended critical captions, followed by layouts that he made as instructions. At the centre of this book is the section of ‘texts’: all the writings that Froshaug published in his lifetime or which exist in manuscript in some adequately finished state. This volume concludes with a reference section: catalogue of work, bibliographies, index (to both volumes).

Documents of a life is not a biography, but rather a sequence of documents, mostly drawn from hitherto private sources, interspersed with necessary explanation by the editor. Among these documents: autobiographical memories by Froshaug, correspondence between him and a range of contemporaries. Notable correspondences represent his attempt in the 1940s to publish texts by Jan Tschichold, and his friendship with the writer Stefan Themerson. Memories by his friend Wolfgang Hildesheimer are given here for the first time in English. Froshaug’s periods as a one-man printer in Cornwall, adjacent to the artists at St Ives, are documented. The book also represents his seminal teaching work: at the Central School of Arts & Crafts, the Hochschule fur Gestaltung Ulm, the Royal College of Art, Watford School of Art. Photographs and other visual material add to our sense of a remarkable man.


Kinross presents no comfortable monograph, rather something like a commented archive. Representative in its selection and well ordered, this publication is in effect a counter-proposal: against fast consumption.
Ute Brüning, Form + Zweck

It is a very purist work … a tribute to a life without any intellectual or aesthetic concessions.
Nicolas Barker, The Book Collector, vol. 50, no. 4, 2001

Both volumes repay study … they are a model for serious research and painstakingly exact
editorial work.

Jost Hochuli, Typografische Monatsblätter

It is one of the most intelligent, superbly thorough, engrossing and important design books to be published in years.
Rick Poynor, Eye, no. 38, 2000