The Swiss Look,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: 30 Years of Swiss Typographic Discoursein the Typografische Monatsblätter: TM RSI SGM 1960-90 (Gebundene Ausgabe)
This Swiss type magazine had an influence far beyond its small circulation. Classed as a monthly, though there are only ten issues a year, the book looks in detail at the most interesting years of Typografische Monatsblatter (TM). Between 1960 and 1990 there were big editorial changes and a major shift in the industry from craftsman controlled lead setting to computer set type.
TM was a rather unusual magazine, founded in 1933 by a typesetters association it covered all aspects of the Swiss printing industry but also had a strong interest in design education. Many of the covers of TM, up to the late seventies, were designed by students and unusual for a magazine one designer would create all the covers for a year.
The magazine obviously considered at all aspects of the 'Swiss look' but Louise Paradis, the book's author, makes an interesting point in her Intro: the absence of Neue Haas Grotesk (Helvetica) on any TM cover, instead Univers was the dominant face. Typographer and teacher Emil Ruder designed ten, now famous, covers in 1961 with the name of the magazine in various sizes of Univers. The 'Swiss look' is actually in two parts depending on where designers worked: Basel or Zurich. Ruder from Basel favored Univers while Josef Muller-Brockmann and Hans Neuberg in Zurich used Helvetica (but before that Standard Medium and Bold). This was also the city where the influential magazine New Graphic Design originated and helped spread Swiss (Helvetica) design in Europe and America.
The book's five chapters look at all the editorial changes at TM and the way it covered technology and education in the Swiss print industry. Each starts with an essay followed by several pages of generously sized covers and spreads from the magazine. Eleven pages in the back of the book show all the covers from 1960 to 1990 in colour and thumbnail size. There are several fascinating pictorial pages, in colour, showing the way the magazine featured experimental design and typography in the eighties some time before the work of David Carson and Emigre magazine.
The book's design and production is first class (as one would expect from Lars Muller) and the contents will interest anyone working with typography and graphic design. It would certainly be a worthwhile addition to any design school library.