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Anthony Froshaug: Typography & texts / Documents of a life

Robin Kinross (editor)

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.

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Entries

Werkplaats at the Stedelijk

2002.06.09

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.

‘Dot Dot Dot’ 2

2001.02.23

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.

Froshaug launched

2000.10.10

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.

Out of slumber

2000.08.14

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 Several small bits of information on the site are out of date, and there are aspects of its design and functioning that need attention.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!).

The new year

1998.12.31

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).

Some considerations on biography

Tanya Harrod / 2000.11.24

We are pleased to publish this address given by Tanya Harrod to the meeting on 10 October 2000 at the Conway Hall, London, to launch the book ‘Anthony Froshaug’. Read more

An interview with Robin Kinross

Petra Cerne Oven and Robin Kinross / 2000.08.21

This interview was recorded in London on 28 May 1999, and published in Slovenian translation in the cultural magazine ‘Emzin’ (vol. 9, nos. 1–2). In making this transcription, we have made some clarifications and expansions of what was said. Read more

Typography is a grid

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Anthony Froshaug / 2000.08.21

This article was first published in ‘The Designer’, no. 167, January 1967. It is one of the ‘texts’ published in our book Anthony Froshaug: Typography & texts / Documents of a life’. Froshaug wrote this at the height of the vogue for grid-based graphic design, imported into Britain from (especially) Switzerland. In an earlier contribution to ‘The Designer’, Brian Grimbly – a friend and colleague of Froshaug – had discussed grids in a purely pragmatic way, as a tool for designers. (‘Designing to a grid’, ‘The Designer’, no. 162, August 1966, pp. 4–5). Anthony Froshaug then wrote this ‘call to order’, restating central tenets of his approach to typography.

Some slight editorial changes have been made in reprinting the article here. Notes to the text and illustrations were originally numbered in one sequence, but have here been renumbered in two sequences. ‘Typography is a grid’ was first reprinted in ‘Design Dialogue’, no. 1, 1969: a magazine edited by students at Stafford College of Art and Design. Froshaug’s work was important for the design course at Stafford, as Peter Burnhill implied in his retrospective: ‘Outside the whale’, ‘Information Design Journal’, vol.8, no.3, 1996, pp. 195–218. More recently, ‘Typography is a grid’ has been reprinted with illustrations and notes reshuffled and misnumbered, within the grimly utilitarian pages of the anthology ‘Looking closer 3’, edited by Michael Bierut and others for Allworth Press (New York, 1999). Read more

Remembering Peter Burnhill

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Robin Kinross / 2007.04.17

Peter was there in Stafford as a constant point of reference for me for about thirty years. I remember making what seemed like a pilgrimage from Reading to Stafford, in 1977, to meet him for the first time, and the others around him in the group that made and ran the typography course at the College of Art and Design. Before this, as an undergraduate in the early 1970s, I knew about him as a co-writer of a fundamental article in the journal Visible Language (‘Experiments with unjustified text’), as a presence in the thinking behind our course at Reading, and as one of the people on the network that I had begun to discover – of designers such as Anthony Froshaug, Norman Potter, Ernest Hoch. They were intellectual and practical father figures, who were all apparently ageless in their immediate democratic engagement with anyone: serious (and often very funny), dissenting and leftist, disseminating. Read more

Anthony Froshaug: material words / making the book

Jane Howard & Robin Kinross / 2009.02.21

A recent tidying of the office turned up an offprint from the journal ‘Matrix’ (no. 21, 2001), which published two pieces written on the occasion of the publication of our book ‘Anthony Froshaug’. Looking at them again, they seem worth reviving – to explain something of the process by which that book was made (just as this piece explains how another of our books came into the world). Read more

Alexander Verberne

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Robin Kinross / 2009.09.15

The typographer Alexander Verberne died on 27 May 2009. After a stroke in 1997, which was followed by further strokes, he had been seriously impaired and was living in a care-home in The Hague. He was born on 18 August 1924 in Den Helder. Read more

‘Modern typography in Britain’ arrived

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2009.09.10

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

London after the war

2009.09.21

Following his ‘Mitteleuropa and Bethnal Green, 1946’, Paul Stiff expands on another theme of Modern typography in Britain: here

‘On typography’

Anthony Froshaug / 2009.10.19

Anthony Froshaug’s article ‘Typography is a grid’, which we posted here in August 2000, has proved to be the most popular page on this website, with numbers boosted recently by a link from a website about grids in typography. One suspects that the meaning of Froshaug’s text eludes many of these visitors (he thought that grids were self-evident and inevitable; not something to make a song and dance about). As a counterweight to – and in part a confirmation of – the ideas in ‘Typography is a grid’, it is worth reading more of what he wrote. The piece given below was written in 1947, but published only in 2000, in the book that gathers all of his writings: ‘Anthony Froshaug: Typography & texts’. The social-political dimension, which is always evident in his work, is strikingly present here. And, as Paul Stiff remarks of Froshaug in his very recently published essay ‘Austerity, optimism: modern typography in Britain after the war’ (in the book ‘Modern typography in Britain’): ‘what sharpens his praxis is phosphoric writing, better theoretically informed than any contemporary designer’. Read more

Desmond Jeffery the printer

2009.10.27

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

‘Subterranean modernism’

Robin Kinross / 2010.07.01

Idea magazine is pleasantly print-fixed: none of the words it publishes are put online, so anyone wanting a taste of it simply has to go out and find a copy. The current issue, no. 341, has an article that refers to Hyphen Press and its efforts. This essay, ‘Subterranean modernism’ by Randy Nakamura and Ian Lynam, is perhaps the first published piece by unconnected observers to address ideas that we’ve been busy with for now 30 years. This is very pleasing.1 Read more

On Anthony Froshaug

2011.07.19

Lucy Sisman’s recollections and estimation of Anthony Froshaug: here