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The New Typography (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism) [Paperback]

Jan Tschichold , Ruari Mc Lean , Robin Kinross
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Hardcover $59.31  
Paperback $35.26  
Paperback, November 30, 1998 --  
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The New Typography (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism) The New Typography (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism) 4.1 out of 5 stars (11)
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Book Description

November 30, 1998 0520071476 978-0520071476
Since its initial publication in Berlin in 1928, Jan Tschichold's The New Typography has been recognized as the definitive treatise on book and graphic design in the machine age. At once a key theoretical document of Central European modernism between the world wars and an invaluable source of working principles for the practicing designer, this classic work enjoys the reputation among book artists that Le Corbusier's Toward a New Architecture has long held among architects.

The book's legendary renown is certain to increase with the long-overdue appearance of this first English translation, published in a form that reflects Tschichold's original typography and design. Ranging from theoretical discussions of typography in the age of photography and mechanical standardization to practical considerations in the design of business forms, The New Typography remains essential reading for designers, art historians, and all those concerned with the evolution of visual communication in the twentieth century.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The publication in English of this seminal work on 20th-century typography is long overdue. First published in 1928 in Germany and out of print for many years, this text has been recognized as one of the most important statements of modern typographical design. This curious and fascinating work ranges through theories of social criticism, art history, architecture, and the emerging importance of photography as it sets forth very definite guidelines regarding the design of printed materials. The final sections are indeed practical guidelines, down to sheet sizes and appropriate mixes of type, for the day-to-day use of working designers and printers. In addition to presenting a clear and faithful translation from the German, the new edition takes special care with design and appearance, closely duplicating the type and layout used in the original. A clear introduction places the work in the context of such movements as the Bauhaus, Constructivism in Art, Marxism in political and economic thought, and National Socialism. Essential for libraries with any special interest in the graphic arts and worthwhile for all libraries collecting in the area of design, it should also have a place in all larger art history collections.
Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A comprehensive, practical handbook to guide the typographer. . . . The tone, here, is that of a master craftsman; practical and informative, it neither avoids detail nor loses sight of broad principles."--Paddy Cramsie, "Times Literary Supplement

Product Details

  • Series: Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism
  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (November 30, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520071476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520071476
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,701,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get the Hardcover Version November 3, 2000
I don't want to repeat what others have already said, so here's a word of additional advice. Avoid the paperback copy and spend a few extra dollars on the hardcover version. Part of what made "The New Typography" what it was when it was printed was not only the contents inside, but the outside of the book as well. In sharp contrast to the classical title boxes on the spine of most books, 'The New Typography' was released in black cloth with silver / metallic ink on the spine, with the sans serif title reversed. Looks rather normal now, but imagine the response in the late 1920s. I have seen both the paperback version and the hardcover, and there's no comparison. If you want the total package, outside of finding a long lost copy of the first edition, get the hardcover. It's worth it, especially for purists.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A founding document of modern history May 16, 2004
Typographic history, at least. This book was first published in 1928, and seems to have been the founding manifesto of the "Swiss school" of typography. This is a must-read for all serious students of type, and for a few others as well.
First, the messages for typographers. The book itself is part of that message: sanserif body text, bright white paper, and geometric red and black graphics. Tschichold uses a few conventions that I quite like. Footnotes are indicated inline and at the end of the page by a heavy black mark. At first, it looked like a blot on the gray of the body type. After seeing it a few times, though, I realized that the heavy mark was very helpful for recovering my place in the reading after my eyes moved away to read the footnote. Emphasis is shown with heavy rules in the outer margins around text, much the way I mark books myself. My only complaint about the book as a whole has to do with indistinct paragraph breaks - there is clue from indentation or line spacing, so it is actually possible to miss a pragraph break altogether.
The second half of the book shows a number of examples, good, bad, and (today) historically interesting. Almost all examples are bold red and black - the first two colors to be used up in most sets of crayons. It is easy to forget that these examples were often designed for letterpress, since photocompostion barely existed as we understand the term. Despite Tschichold's passion for modernity, the style now looks as dated as Bauhaus, streamlined locomotives, and Art Deco.
The first half of the book is for typographers, but also for any modern student of polemic. Not many people have strong feelings about typography, so the ranting can be considered by itself.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Manifesto for a Typographic Revolution September 20, 2000
Jan Tschichold wrote this book while still a young man, in reaction to the horrible typographic styles of the late 19th and early 20th century. As such, it is more an expression of a revolutionary spirit than a guide to good typography. The author himself rejected most of the ideas in the book a decade or so later. But it remains greatly influential, particularly in the field of graphic design for periodicals. Definitely worth reading, as a balance to the conventionality of most typographic books.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Historical Value, But No Applicable Lessons July 6, 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have written before me, this book surely has an historical value to it. It allows the reader to have a quick glance to a particular historical moment of typography in pre-WWII Germany, written in a Marxist tone. Also, the layout of the book is a beauty in itself, with its glossy paper and sans-serif Futura font. But that is pretty much it, unless you want to read it because you are a student in History of Typography. Do not expect to learn basic or advanced typographic elements here. If you want that, read "The Elements of Typographic Style" by Robert Bringhurst instead.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful but dogmatic December 3, 2004
This is a nice handbook for creating stark minimal layouts but the dogmatic, unwavering theory of 'objective' design is best taken with a grain of salt. Reading this reminds me of when I took painting with Modernist painter Guido Molinari and everyone around me ended painting squares out of fear of retribution. But even with his strict approach, I don't think he would have quoted a text that says "The more primitive a people, the more extravagantly they use ornamentation ... To insist on decoration is to put yourself on the same level as an Indian." While this book has some great tips on reducing clutter and improving readability, reading the 'ideals of Modern Man' stuff is like sitting through a fire and brimstone sermon. Nice diagrams.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, if you're into type history March 11, 2002
By byrner
I'll confess I was expecting something more contemporary when bought this book. If you're not carefull the title will fool you. "New" in this case means early 20th century. Tschichold, as I came to learn, is one of the great names in typeface design. This book is reissued as his classic rant/manifesto on graphic design and type.

Tschichold makes strong statements on what constitutes good typography, even going so far as to make philosophic natural law arguments in favor of san serif type. Serif fonts, particularly black letter styles, are the enemy. You have to take a historical leap in order to understand Tschichold's sour view of black letter. To us, black letter is a period typeface appearing outside pubs of the "Ye Olde Ale House" variety (or alternately to tattoo your back with gang symbols). But to Tschichold, black letter type was the Times New Roman of the day, plastered over every document and sign around. He argues correctly (in self-righteous, quasi-Marxist tones) about the unintelligibility of black letter type. He champions san serif styles, such as Futura.

Strictly speaking, Tschichold's arguments aren't of much practical use to contemporary designers now that the scourge of black letter has fallen aside and Helvetica/Arial rules the world, but I enjoyed the reproductions of Tschichold's own Weimar Republic era work. It reminds me of the possibility of using a strictly typographic solution to a design problem. I think if you were ever a fan of Emigre's type and design philosophy, you'll find things to like about this book.
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