Saturday, April 22, 2006

De neue Typographie

The aim of the older typography was beauty, clarity is the purpose of modern design.

The more one knows of history, the more difficult it is to reject it

* source

Renner certainly tried to give a certain ‘spirit’ to Futura; he described it as the typeface appropriate for the modern era, for the age of machines and technology. But some of his statements about it are somewhat contradictory. He described how the typeface is not purely geometric, but full of subtle features, yet he also believed that it succeeded due to the purity of the idea behind it. It is obviously a product of its time, reflecting the preoccupations of modernist design in the 1920s, but it also has a timeless quality.

This is, in fact, the definition of a timeless quality – that something always looks modern.

I believe it makes you a better designer if you know about the history of your craft.
In printing and typography, technological changes have not always caused changes in the visual aspect of design, and so it is unjustifiable to say, for instance, that new media demand entirely new visual idioms.

if you are a busy designer, it may well be useful for you to know how something has been done well in the past, or how it was done in a certain way under particular historical circumstances. It could save you valuable time to have some knowledge of conventions.I’m not saying that history books should merely be regarded as visual source material – mimicry doesn’t work, except for pastiche – but picking up ideas and reinventing them for new situations, that’s what most of us do a lot of the time. It is possible to take the view that you should design pragmatically for each new situation without the baggage of the past, but it would be difficult for an individual to invent a whole graphic vocabulary and the idioms of use for themselves. Some knowledge of tradition is essential, if only in order to reject it.

This was Otl Aicher’s view: that design is a game, which can only be played properly if you observe some basic rules.


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