Reviews

Reviews emphasizes books and fonts, but also includes magazines, logos, signage, ephemera and whatever catches my eye and ire.
Book reviews focus on content, but also take into account editing, layout and design. Font reviews are in-depth explorations of a typeface: the intentions of its designer; its origins, context and purpose; and its relationship to other typefaces, past and present. The reviews are a counterbalance to the negative nature of the Blue Pencil dissections. They are critical explorations and analyses rather than promotional vehicles.

Definitive Dwiggins no. 9—Reform of the Currency

Michael Russem of Kat Ran Press has just announced  that his new edition of Towards a Reform of the Paper Currency by W.A. Dwiggins is ready. Here is his description of the book:
Towards a Reform of the Paper Currency is a passionate and lively little rant with lots of good design ideas for the improvement of banknotes and stamps—and just about anything else. First published in 1932 by the Limited Editions Club in an edition of 452 copies, this new edition is also …
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Reflections on AIGA Medalists

The occasion of the AIGA Centennial Gala on April 25th led me to some thoughts on the identity and choice of the AIGA medalists over the years. The AIGA medal was first awarded in 1920 to Baltimore printer Norman T. A. Munder. Between then and 1954 it was given out erratically with some years (e.g. 1921 and 1933) skipped entirely and in others (e.g. 1924 and 1950) with two being presented. Then from 1955 to 1972 only one was given …
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Blue Pencil no. 44—The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design: the box reconsidered

Today, the front flap of my copy of The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design suddenly fell off. I have had the box open for the past few weeks while preparing this series of Blue Pencil posts, but I never expected the flap to be so fragile that it couldn’t bear the strain of being folded down for so long. It was attached to the front with only a few dabs of glue. For now the lid is still intact.
This circumstance …
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Blue Pencil no. 42—The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design: Contents

Since Phaidon failed to include a table of contents in the booklet accompanying The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design (London: Phaidon Press Limited and New York: Phaidon Press, Inc., 2012), I have decided to perform that public service for those who have bought the box. I have listed the cards in ID order as they appear in the box when shipped. For each ID number I have indicated the title, designer and date of the item as rendered by Phaidon. I have …
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Blue Pencil no. 28—The Phaidon Archive of Design: An Assessment

The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design
(London: Phaidon Press Limited and New York: Phaidon Press, Inc., 2012)
‘The publishers would like to thank Kerry William Purcell for his help in the preparation of this book.”*
Commissioning editor: Emilia Terragni
Project editors: Alanna Fitzpatrick, Andrew Ruff and Davina Thackera
Specialist consultants: Steven Heller, Werner Jeker, Emily King, Hans Dieter Reichert, Teal Triggs, and Graham Twemlow
Phaidon team: Jane Ace, Laura Aylett, Enzo Barracco, Juliette Blightman, Emma Causer, Jacob Denno, Camilla Gersh, William Hall, Julia Hasting, Shari Last, …
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Blue Pencil no. 27—Authors of The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design

This is a guide to who wrote what in The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design (London: Phaidon Press Limited and New York: Phaidon Press, Inc., 2012). The texts in the box are uncredited and the list of author contributions in the accompanying booklet provides nothing more than entry ID numbers for each individual. There are also no author biographies. I have tried my best to provide credentials for each author, but for some I have failed to find reliable information …
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Blue Pencil no. 25—A last word on About More Alphabets

Jerry Kelly has emailed me (12 December 2012) with a response to Blue Pencil no. 24 but also with a request not to post his comments. Although I will honor his request not to quote him or his email I will respond to two of his assertions. First, he claims that Comenius Antiqua had oldstyle figures and suggests I look at the Berthold Exklusiv specimen. Although I am not sure which specimen from Berthold he has in mind, my copy …
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Blue Pencil no. 24—Jerry Kelly response to Blue Pencil no. 23

Jerry Kelly has emailed me about Blue Pencil no. 24. Here is his commentary with my responses.

While it was good to see Paul Shaw acknowledge that “Kelly is right,” “Kelly is absolutely right,” “Kelly is making a subtle but important distinction,” “mea [Shaw] culpa,”; etc., about many errors I pointed out in his review of “About More Alphabets,” I’m afraid that his response to me introduced yet more errors.

[I did acknowledge errors in Blue Pencil no. 23 but three times …
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Blue Pencil no. 23—Jerry Kelly response to Zapfiana no. 1

Jerry Kelly responded on 5 December 2012 with this email detailing alleged errors in my recent Zapfiana no. 1 post. I have annotated his email (adding text to his excerpts from my post to make the context clearer), indicating where he is right and where I believe I am. The errors that he found in my post have been corrected.
Paul;
Truthfully, I did not want to spend too much time on a lengthy correction of the erroneous information in what you …
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Blue Pencil no. 21—Zapfiana no. 2: What Our Lettering Needs

Cover of What Our Lettering Needs by Rick Cusick (2011). Design by Rick Cusick.
What Our Lettering Needs: The Contribution of Hermann Zapf to Calligraphy & Type Design at Hallmark Cards
Rick Cusick
Rochester: RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2011
136 pp.
6.75 x 10 in.
softcover
$24.95
http://carypress.rit.edu/subject/calligraphy
introduction by Sumner Stone
designed by Rick Cusick
set in Crown Roman and Italic
full color

What Our Lettering Needs: The Contribution of Hermann Zapf to Calligraphy & Type Design at Hallmark Cards by Rick Cusick, a Hallmark “lifer”, is also published by the …
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Blue Pencil no. 20—Zapfiana no. 1: About More Alphabets

Title page spread, About More Alphabets (2011). Typography by Jerry Kelly.
About More Alphabets
Jerry Kelly and Robert Bringhurst
Rochester: The Typophiles and RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2011
Typophile Chap Book New Series no. 3
112 pp.
4.5 x 7 in.
$35
http://carypress.rit.edu/publications/books/about-more-alphabets.html
[updated 7 December 2012 to reflect corrections pointed out by Jerry Kelly]
Hermann Zapf (b. 1918), widely considered to be one of the preeminent type designers of the 20th century, has continued to design new typefaces and revise earlier ones in the 21st century. His career …
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Book Review—Type Revivals

 
Title page, Type Revivals
Type Revivals: What are they? Where did they come from? Where are they going?
Jerry Kelly
New York: The Typophiles, 2011
Typophile Monographs New Series no. 27
Based on a talk given at the ATypI congress in St. Petersburg, Russia 2008
Design & typography by Jerry Kelly. Set in Adobe Garamond Premier types.
16 pp. 6″x9″. Black and white; illustrated. 300 copies printed.
Blue Pencil has not previously tackled monographs or articles, but there is no reason that they should fall outside of its …
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Der Typografische Kanon

Prater Gastsgätte Biergarten in Berlin During my visit to Berlin this past July I went to the Prater beer garden with a group of type geeks led by Indra Kupferschmid, Florian Hardwig and American expat Dan Reynolds. Among the others was Christoph Koeberlin who asked us to name our five essential type books. Although I do not read German I own and cherish many German and Swiss books and so chose five of them for my list: Buchkunst im …
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Book Review—Departures: Five Milestone Font Families by Emigre


Departures: Five Milestone Font Families by Emigre
Rudy VanderLans
Berkeley, California: Emigre, 2011
Designed by Rudy VanderLans. Set in Base 900, designed by Zuzana Licko. Printed by Blurb.
141 pp. 5″x8″. Black and white; illustrated.
$14 or free with purchase of the five Museum of Modern Art “milestone” font families ($164). Visit Emigre.com.
This small book has been published, “on the occasion of the acquisition of five of our font families by The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2011,” …
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Bartolomeo Sanvito: A basic bibliography

This is a simple bibliography regarding Bartolomeo Sanvito for anyone interested in the Paduan calligrapher, whether or not they are able to afford the new book by Albinia de la Mare, Laura Nuvoloni et al. It is in chronological, rather than alphabetical, order so that the evolution of Sanvito scholarship can be traced.
De Kunert, Silvio. “Un padovano ignoto ed un suo memoriale de’ primi anni del Cinquecento (1505–1511),” Bollettino del Museo Civico di Padova 10 (1907), pp. 1–16 and 64–73.
Wardrop, James. …
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Bartolomeo Sanvito: The Life and Work of a Renaissance Scribe

Julius Caesar, Commentaria di Bello Gallico et Civile, fol. 4 c.1465
Bartolomeo Sanvito: The Life and Work of a Renaissance Scribe
(The Handwrting of the Italian Humanists II)
A.C. de la Mare and Laura Nuvoloni
edited by Anthony Hobson and Christopher de Hamel
with contributions from Scott Dickerson, Ellen Cooper Erdreich and Anthony Hobson
Paris: Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, 2009
463 pp., 196 images
$325.00
Designed by Humphrey Stone
Albinia de la Mare (1932–2001) spent the greater part of her working life as a paleographer investigating the life and …
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