Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface (Anglais) Broché – Illustré, 20 décembre 2005
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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. Incidentally, the author suggests that Arial, the default type used on Outlook Express for most emails is a digital Helvetica, close but no cigar! The most obvious differences are the cap G and the lower case s and t.
'Homage to a typeface' is a lovely book that'll interest most typographers and anyone who is curious about a lettering style that seems to be everywhere.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
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.