Typography papers 4

Editorial

This issue is broadly concerned with the notion of ‘interpretation’ of meaning and ideas; we welcome the dialogue that is introduced in several of the contributions.

The detailed typography of dictionaries with its potential to articulate meaning to a very fine degree is the topic of Paul Luna’s richly-illustrated article. He traces the development of macro and micro visual organisation in dictionaries from the seventeenth century to the present day.

The debate between Max Bill and Jan Tschichold, conducted in Switzerland in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, has come to be recognized as a classic exchange of views about typography and its wider implications. The articles by Bill and Tschichold are now brought together for the first time in an English-language publication. Paul Renner’s reflections on the debate and the debaters, translated and republished here for the first time, add an important new dimension to the exchange.

Peter Burnhill reports on his investigations into the typography of Aldine editions, which have led him to the suggestion that this printing shows a unified system of dimensions. He introduces this discussion with reference back to an exchange of views about typography and writing published in Typography papers 2, and to a recollection of an earlier exchange on related questions in The Journal of Typographic Research. In the same spirit of debate, we invited responses to Burnhill’s theses, so that the discussion could become a symposium. This debate is open-ended, and indeed we hope that it can be  continued in a future number of Typography papers.

Robin Kinross
Sue Walker

Article summaries

Paul Luna:
Clearly defined: continuity and innovation in the typography of English dictionaries

This paper considers the development of a core set of typographic conventions between 1604 and 175o; the development of more complex typographic solutions for the scholarly lexicography that was foreshadowed by Johnson’s dictionary of 1755, and reached its zenith in the great national dictionaries of the nineteenth century, foremost the OED; and the effect on both lexicography and typography of the computerization of dictionary compilation and production since the 1960s.

Christopher Burke & Robin Kinross (ed.):
The dispute between Max Bill and Tschichold of 1946, with a later contribution by Paul Renner

This is the first publication together in English translation of ‘Über Typografie’, by Max Bill, and ‘Glaube and Wirklichkeit’, by Jan Tschichold. These essays constitute a seminal dispute of 1946, which can be seen as a defining moment for the Swiss typography that developed fully in the 1950s. The two essays are brought together for the first time with a later contribution by Paul Renner from 1948, ‘Über moderne Typographie’. Considered as a whole, this debate raises significant practical and moral issues concerning typography. The original German texts are also given here.

Max Bill:
On typography

First published in Schweizer Graphische Mitteilungen, Jhg 65, Heft 4, April 1946, pp. 193–200. Bill’s use of Kleinschreibung (no capital letters) has not been carried over into this English translation, but it has been retained in the original German text below. Two typographical errors in the original German text have been invisibly corrected. The design of Bill’s text was a departure from the customary layout of the journal, with a single column of ranged-left sanserif text, printed in a dark grey.

Jan Tschichold:
Belief and reality

German text first published in Schweizer Graphische Mitteilungen, Jhg 65, Heft 6, June 1946, pp. 233–42. This translation first published in Ruari McLean, Jan Tschichold: typographer (London: Lund Humphries, 1975). It is reprinted here with minor modifications, following the conventions used in the other translations.

Paul Renner:
On modern typography

The original editor’s prefatory note is included here in the translation. German text first published in Schweizer Graphische Mitteilungen, Jhg 67, Heft 3, March 1948, pp. 119–20.

Peter Burnhill:
Type spaces

Debates over the ideas of ‘writing’ and ‘typography’ provide the introduction to Peter Burnhill’s report on an investigation into dimensional co-ordination in typography. Consideration of the relation between writing and typography suggests another look at the infancy of printing, when the systematization that is inherent within typography was being worked out. Burnhill started this research with the clues provided by the ‘risen spaces’ that are occasionally visible in the printing of Aldus Manutius. From this evidence, he argues that Aldine printing was informed by a unified system of control – of type size and character proportion, as well as of the larger components of vertical and lateral measure in text-setting. These arguments are then discussed in a set of responses from colleagues who read the paper in pre-publication form. Paul Stiff’s ‘Spaces and difference in typography’, which then follows, adds to his discussion of Burnhill a critique of some ideas of Gerrit Noordzij,   which Burnhill takes as the starting point of his paper. Finally, Burnhill replies briefly to his critics.

Richard Southall / Peter Enneson / Andrew Boag / Hrant Papazian:
Replies to Peter Burnhill

Paul Stiff:
Spaces and difference in typography

This response to both Peter Burnhill and Gerrit Noordzij gathers a number of threads. Peter starts by referring to the exchange between Gerrit and Robin Kinross in Typography papers 2. That exchange continued, in turn, a discussion aound 1992–4 in Budapest, Antwerp, and London, in which I also took part. Peter then points back to a debate between Ernest Hoch and John Mountford in the late 196os. This continued in various guises into the early 198os, and took its final form at Reading under the hospitality of the Working Party on Typographic Teaching. The participants then included Peter, Robin Kinross, Richard Southall, and me, among others. In passing I should note that Peter’s mention of Ernest Hoch points also to the more vigorous – a better word may be vicious – exchanges about type size description which took place from the late 196os through to the mid 198os, when they were more or less killed off in San Jose by the solidification of lead in the vocabulary of digital typography. This topic – concepts of and designators for type size – was partially exhumed in the first issue of Typography papers by Andrew Boag.

Peter Burnhill:
Response

Colophon

Typography papers [4] is published by the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, The University of Reading, PO box 239, Reading RG6 6AU, England

Editors: Robin Kinross & Sue Walker

Editorial board: Andrew Boag, Christopher Burke, Paul Luna, James Mosley, Marcus Rathgeb, Paul Stiff, Michael Twyman

Production manager: Mick Stocks

Composed and printed in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, The University of Reading

Production team: Andrew Cross, Neale Smith, Mick Stocks, Jennie Walsh, Geoff Wyeth

Page make-up by Text Matters, Reading

Typeset in Monotype Ehrhardt and formatted in QuarkXPress; printed on Mellotext smooth super white, 115 gsm

ISBN 0 7049 1124 8

© 2000 Typography papers the authors and Department of Typography & Graphic Communication

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher or copyright holder.

Paul Luna:
Clearly defined: continuity and innovation in the typography of English dictionaries

Christopher Burke & Robin Kinross (ed.):
The dispute between Max Bill and Tschichold of 1946, with a later contribution by Paul Renner

Max Bill:
On typography

Jan Tschichold:
Belief and reality

Paul Renner:
On modern typography

Peter Burnhill:
Type spaces

Richard Southall / Peter Enneson / Andrew Boag / Hrant Papazian:
Replies to Peter Burnhill

Paul Stiff:
Spaces and difference in typography

Peter Burnhill:
Response

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