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Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface [Paperback]

by Lars Muller
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Book Description

November 15, 2002 3037780460 978-3037780466 2nd ed.
Helvetica is a sans-serif typeface. It is simple and clean, and commonly seen in advertising, signage, and literature. The R has a curved leg, and the i and j have square dots. The Q has a straight angled tail, and the counterforms inside the O, Q, and C are oval. It is an all-purpose type design that can deliver practically any message clearly and efficiently. It is one of the most popular typefaces of all time. Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface presents 400 examples of Helvetica in action, selected from two diametrically opposed worlds. Superb applications by renowned designers are juxtaposed with an anonymous collection of ugly, ingenious, charming, and hair-raising samples of its use.

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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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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.

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: #453,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's no Akzidenz January 19, 2006
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
2.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, unforgivable, shoddy binding September 18, 2004
By Leesa
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.


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
... 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
4.0 out of 5 stars neat little book. handle with care. April 18, 2005
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Watch the movie instead October 17, 2007
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! February 14, 2004
By A Customer
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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