DIE NEUE TYPOGRAPHIE
EIN HANDBUCH FUR ZEITGEMASS SCHAFFENDE
Jan Tschichold: DIE NEUE TYPOGRAPHIE. EIN HANDBUCH FUR ZEITGEMASS SCHAFFENDE. Berlin: Verlag Des Bildungsverbandes Der Deutschen Buchdrucker, 1928. First edition. Small quarto. Text in German. Black cloth-covered flexible boards stamped in silver. 240 pp. Typographic examples throughout. Spine cloth lightly mottled at heel. Silver spine lettering heavily rubbed and only partially legible [as usual]. Introduction and first chapter show examples of neat pencil emphasis underlining and a few small margin notes. The underling continues sparsely throughout the rest of the book. Random mild spotting throughout. Layout and typography by the author. A well-preserved copy that is virtually unknown in the first edition. A book whose importance to the twentieth-century modern movement cannot be overstated. A very good copy. Rare.
I consider DIE NEUE TYPOGRAPHIE the most important and influential Graphic Design Book ever writtten.
6 x8.5 hardcover book bound in full cloth with 240 pages and many typographic examples printed in black and red, and published by the Bildungsverband der Deutschen Buchdrucker, the educational wing of the German printing trade union. Contemporary readers and typographers will undoubtedly be surprised by this edition's pedagogical nature, due to the lengthy shadow this book has cast over the Modern Design Movement in the eighty years since its publication.
In this slim volume, the 26-year old Tschichold presented his manifesto of the principles and rules for a new typographic practice that summarized the contemporary avant-garde convictions about elemental forms and clarity of communication.
Tschichold's principal claim for the new typography is that it is characteristic of the modern age. Writing at a time when many new mass produced products appeared on the market, his intention was to bring typography into line with these other manifestations of industrial culture. Similar to the Russian Constructivists, Tschichold lauds the engineer whose work is marked by "economy, precision," and the "use of pure constructional forms that correspond to the functions of the object."
Due to his solid training in typography, Tschichold was a much greater technician than either Lissitzky or Moholy-Nagy; his own assertions on modernist design were based on an intimate knowledge of typesetting techniques such as leading, spacing, and the overall arrangement of type on a page. One look at Moholy-Nagy¹s essay titled (curiously enough) Die Neue Typographie in STAATLICHES BAUHAUS 1919-1923 (Bauhausverlag Weimar-Munchen, 1923, p. 141) clearly proves that Tschichold could run circles around the type cases of his peers.
Tschichold strongly believed in the Zeitgeist argument that each age creates its own uniquely appropriate forms. That belief allowed him to formulate a set of principles for his time and reject all prior work, regardless of its quality. One of the characteristics of the modern age for Tschichold was speed. he felt that printing must facilitate a quicker and more efficient mode of reading. Whereas the aim of the older typography was beauty, clarity was the purpose of the New Typography.
Contents (translated into English here from the published German):
- Growth and Nature of the New Typography
- The New World View
- The Old Typography (1440-1914): Retrospective and Criticism
- The New Art
- The History of the New Typography
- The Principles of the New Typography
- Photography and Typography
- New Typography and Standardization
- Principal Typographic Categories
- The Typographic Symbol
- The Business Letterhead
- The Half Letterhead
- Envelopes Without Windows
- Window Envelopes
- The Postcard
- The Postcard With Flap
- The Business Card
- The Visiting-Card
- Advertising Matter (Slips, Cards, Leaflets, Prospectuses, Catalogues)
- The Typo-Poster
- The Pictorial Poster
- Labels, Plates, and Frames
- The Periodical
- The Newspaper
- The Illustrated Paper
- Tabular Matter
- The New Book
- List of Addresses
Includes typographic examples by Jan Tschichold, El Lissitzky, Kasimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Walter Dexel, Willi Baumeister, F. T. Marinetti, Tristan Tzara, Man Ray, Theo Van Doesburg, Max Burchartz, Sascha Stone, Piet Zwart, Kurt Schwitters, Herbert Bayer, Johannes Molzahn, Joost Schmidt, Johannes Canis, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Franz W. Seiwert, Lajos Kassak, Otto Baumberger, Karel Teige, John Heartfield, and others.
Tschichold was the most eloquent spokesman of the Neue Werbergestalter (circle of new advertising designers) established by Kurt Schwitters in 1928 and helped to disseminate Constructivist principles with his books. He favored asymmetrical layouts and an orderly presentation instead of the centered arrangements of classical book printing or the fluid individualism of Art Nouveau. Grolier Club, A Century for the Century, 36 (in reference to the 1935 edition of Typographische Gestaltung):".with its mixture of types and asymmetrical composition, clearly exhibits the modern sensibility. Basically revolutionary in its design, such work was to push printing in a new direciton, and Tschichold was one of the first and one of the best practitioners of modernist style."
The Circle of New Advertising Designers (ring neue werbegestalter) was a group who coalesced after the first statements on the new typography by Tschchold and Moholy-Nagy, and their purpose was the promotion of a common vision of the avant-garde. Ring neue werbegestalter intentionally echoed the name of The Ring, a group of Berlin-based architects which had been formed a few years earlier.
In Heinz and Bodo Rausch's Gefesselter Blick (1930), The Ring's point of view was defined by Paul Shuitema , acknowledging that modern design involved the separation of hand and machine which previous generations had so strongly fought against: "the designer is not a draughtsman, but rather an organizer of optical and technical factors. His work should not be limited to making notes, placing in groups and organizing things technically."
Tschichold was more succinct: " I attempt to reach the maximum of purpose in my publicity works and to connect the single constructive elements harmoniously -- to design."
Sample spreads from this volume can be viewed here.
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