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Unjustified texts: perspectives on typography

Robin Kinross

A book of writings from twenty-five years of engagement on the peripheries of both journalism and academic life, and drawn largely from small-circulation and now hard-to-access publications. Persistent themes include: editorial typography, the emergence of graphic design in Britain, emigré designers, Dutch typography, the work of critical modernist designers

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Entries

Fresh Smeijers

2003.08.14

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.

Smeijers so far

2003.10.22

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

‘The stroke’: a review

Large text 11

Erik Spiekermann / 2006.09.26

Reviews of ‘The stroke’ have begun to appear. Gerrit Noordzij’s writings present a particular challenge to their readers. ‘Do not believe what you read’, the author seems to say. ‘What I am saying is what seems to me to be true; but you need to sort it out for yourself, with the help of my explorations, if they interest you.’ He asks for a thinking-along with him. Not so many reviewers want to put in the work of engagement. Erik Spiekermann’s review appears, in its original German, in the journal ‘Text’ (no. 11, 2006), edited at the Institut für Textkritik, and published in Frankfurt a.M. by Stroemfeld Verlag. For permission to publish this translation, thanks to the editors and publishers of ‘Text’, and Erik Spiekermann. Read more

Is it possible to determine what typeface of the 1990s will become a classic in the future?

Fred Smeijers / 2006.09.26

With its issue of April–May 2006 (no. 70), the magazine ‘Tipográfica’ entered its twentieth year of publication. Published from Buenos Aires since its first issue of May 1987, the magazine is now established as one of the liveliest and most internationally minded design magazine: though rooted in typography, most issues contain pieces on graphic design and design more generally, with a strong interest in the social and philosophical aspects of the subject. More than most design publications of the moment, ‘Tipográfica’ puts European and North American preoccupations into salutary perspective. For this anniversary issue, ‘Tipográfica’ asked twenty ‘prominent personalities’ to write brief pieces in response to questions posed by the magazine’s editorial group: a different question for each respondent. Among respondents were Robert Bringhurst, Christopher Burke, Matthew Carter… and on to Hermann Zapff. Perhaps the most entertaining contribution came from Fred Smeijers. We reproduce it here, with kind permission of ‘Tipográfica’. 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

Typefaces of their times

Robin Kinross / 2007.05.15

There has been much discussion in recent years about the typeface Helvetica, prompted by the book made by Lars Mueller and now a film by Gary Hustwit. In this connection, Erik Spiekermann has been active. Much of Erik’s work has been a wonderful effort in surpassing the unthinking, formulaic and bureaucratic approach that often entails the use of Helvetica. In 1991 Erik brought out his typeface Meta. With the great success of Meta, it came to be some sort of alternative to Helvetica: more subtle and humane than the essentially regularized-industrial forms of Helvetica. The tag ‘the Helvetica of the 1990s’ has become attached to Meta, and has sometimes been attributed to Robin Kinross. Read more