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Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface Paperback – November 15, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-3037780466 ISBN-10: 3037780460 Edition: 2nd ed.

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Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface + Helvetica Forever: Story of a Typeface + Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lars Muller; 2nd ed. edition (November 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3037780460
  • ISBN-13: 978-3037780466
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lars Müller was born in 1955 in Oslo. Trained as a graphic designer, he worked briefly in Holland before opening his own studio in Baden, Switzerland in 1982. Since 1996 he has been a partner in the interdisciplinary design group Integral Concept, which has offices in Paris, Milan, and Baden. In 1983, Müller began publishing books on typography, art, photography, industrial design, and architecture. He lectures at the Hoschschule für Gestaltung in Basel.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on January 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
First the mystery: just why was every alternate page in the book joined together? The reader has to carefully cut the perforations to be able to look at every page. I can't find any reference in the small amount of text about this. My conclusion is that the public use of the type is on the open pages and non-public (or designed) examples are on the perforation joined pages. At least you'll know if you buy a pre-used copy though.

Apart from the perforations I thought this was a handsome little book and homage in the title is very apt. Helvetica is probably the world's number one communication choice, it works just as well on a municipal sign or a new baby announcement. Before it gained a monopoly each nation seemed to have its own jobbing type, Franklin Gothic in America, Gill Sans in England or Antique Olive in France, for instance but the super clean lines of Helvetica (and computer typesetting) meant it was no contest for all the others.

The author mentions the uniqueness of Swiss design in the Fifties partly because the top designers always used the same typeface, the stunning Akzidenz Grotesk, which fitted into their rather austere but elegant graphic solutions even though it only had two weights, Medium and Bold. Who needs italic, extended, condensed, extra black and the other weights to communicate efficiently? The rest of the world for a start. From the late Fifties Swiss designed Helvetica spread across the globe and you'll see from the hundreds of examples in these pages some wonderful design solutions, especially the two hundred plus logos that use the face in all sorts of variations. As a typeface there are probably a few dozen Helvetica weights now available.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leesa on September 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'll start by saying that this is a lovely tribute to the most invisible, versatile and ubiquitous font. It is a full bled chunk of photography and unintentional wit.

Buuuttt....

The binding is absolutely horrendous. I'm not referring to the imaginative use of perforation, either. The binding completely fell apart after flipping through it once. The pages are not folded and stitched and only held in with apparently inadequate adhesive. I am now the proud owner of a nice stack of loose paper.

Due to the fact that the reader is expected to separate the perforated edges- the book becomes non-refundable.

So, although I wish I could recommend this little book due to content I strongly advise that you not purchase it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "jameskevstone" on July 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
... Great book... in a lovely format... shows how many different guises Helvetica can give. Love the hidden perforated sections too. A book you'll pick up time and time again ...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Findley on April 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It's about what you'd expect. I feel like I got my $20 worth, but as mentioned, it's gonna fall apart before you're halfway into the book. I think if I would have heeded the warnings it may have gone a little farther. Your mileage may vary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Joswick on October 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
This makes for a good coffee table book, or perhaps bathroom reading, but as a graphic design reference it falls short. Basically just a picture book. The first half is a compendium of various samples of graphic design, some of them really wonderful, all using Helvetica. The second half is a photographic essay showing the font used in the public domain throughout the world. It would have been nice to include some essays from leading writers in the design world on the history of the font, or it's influence, both good and bad, in the visual vernacular. I was inspired to buy it after seeing the film "Helvetica," and found that film to be a much more rewarding experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I really like the book. It's a comprehensive showcase for one of the most controversial typeface. This tiny book holds numerous artwork (many of them are quintessential pieces) designed by both well-trained designers and amateurs, as well as debating quotes, throughout the decades. The collection of logos is also quite interesting.
Again, and as always, Helvetica didn't speak just for itself here. At least, it also spoke of Graphic Design as a discipline. Wonderful, brilliant and impressive; both the book and the typeface.
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