Matthias Klose
has kindly submitted
Bruce Nauman

386 4

Dear Bernd Kuchenbeiser, yesterday I had a portfolio consultation for a small group of students (in fine arts studies you have now come to realize how important catalogue design etc. has become) and had only borrowed a small booklet from a museum library for this purpose. I don’t have any books myself. But I appreciate books a lot. 
We looked through it together at the end of our meeting. It positively shocked everyone. What is this design crap we are doing here? was a comment. Now we are starting over next semester, trying to do things differently. This simplicity shocked every participant. 
Might it be an object for A Good Book – ? Best regards, Matthias Klose

Submitted by Matthias Klose

Catalogo della XXXI Biennale Internazionale d’Arte Venezia

385 8

This early Vignelli catalogue for the 1962 Biennale di Venezia has lost nothing of its fresh spirit. I really enjoy its weird font mixture, probably due to limited availability of lead type in the desired sizes. Even the advertisements look great from a distance of 54 years.

Flaga 1972-2000

384 6

In 2002 Simon Starling drove from Turin, Italy to Cieszyn, Poland in a red Fiat 126 manufactured in Turin in 1974. In Poland Starling substituted the boot, bonnet and doors for white parts produced at the Fiat Auto Poland factory in the neighbouring town of Bielsko-Biała. This lovely little red booklet is the accompanying catalogue.

Brüder Rasch – Material Konstruktion Form 1926-1930

383 5

Art collector Egidio Marzona founded an own publishing house in order to document his research in various fields – art, architecture, photography and design. This self-designed volume on the architects and designers Heinz and Bodo Rasch is far from perfect, but its refreshing sensuality and the free and spacious layout has a somewhat hidden beauty.

Das Kind und sein Vater

382 5

I remember coming across this photo anthology in the window of a closed antiquarian bookstore and fell instantly in love with its title. A few weeks later I was given exactly this book as birthday present. Several weeks thereafter I received the greatest gift in my life. Ever since my admiration and affection for the exceptional beauty of the photographs and the sequencing of this book has been growing. 

Fjodor Gejko
has kindly submitted
Kinder 1 Orient Zeichnen

381 5

A fascinating picture book, designed and realised by Wolfgang Weingart in 1964 with a small print run. It contains drawings by children from the Middle East, spaciously presented in numerous fold-out pages, that allow the reader to rearrange the volume and create new double page combinations. The typography is modest as well as unobtrusive and lets the images speak for themselves.

Submitted by Fjodor Gejko

Michaël Snitker
has kindly submitted
Der Pyramidenrock

380 5

This cover looks still fresh after 92 years! The poetry book by Hans Arp was high on my wish list for years. Recently I acquired this rare copy from the private library of Carl Laszlo who died at the age of 90 in 2013. Der Pyramidenrock is Arp’s fourth book with a collection of 41 Dada poems. The portrait frontispiece appears to have been done by Modigliani in 1914 in Paris when Arp became acquainted with Picasso, Apollinaire and other leaders of Modernism.

Submitted by Michaël Snitker

Solitude Atlas

379 4

This is a solid book as well as it is unexspectedly lightweight. It appears to have fallen out of time with its archetypal-universal form and construction. It claims to be an Atlas – in so far as it brings together places, transformed into texts and occasionally images by former Solitude stipendiaries. The editorial achievement is just as impressive as its typography: contributions in no less than 20 languages and most diverse forms had to be translated, layouted and typeset. The designer, Phil Baber, has delightfully succeeded in his task. I can’t put this wonderfully unagitated volume down again.

B is for Bauhaus


By far the most exciting design related book I read for a long time. Intelligent, inspiring, broadening – simply brilliant. The nice cover design helps me to ignore the corny typographical endeavours inside.

Grafisk design: Henrik Nygren

377 7

So many great designers failed in doing their own monograph. This is certainly not true for Henrik Nygren. His presentation is poetic and modest, the consistency of quality in his designs is second to none. The quiet and straight portfolio is interrupted by what he calls “Minnesbilder” (Memories) – inspirations, points of reference, benchmarks for his work. Printing and material selection is first-rate. Only the bookbinding would have benefited from cold glue. I’ve asked Henrik to send me his 5 favourite spreads. Here they are.

Annahita Kamali and Florian Böhm
have kindly submitted
Eskimo Cook Book

376 5

This rare hand-made book, first published in 1952 began as a school project in Alaska, when a teacher asked her class to bring in a recipe or story of how mother cooked at home. The book is a great example of simplicity in any aspect. To prepare a herring for example, you apparently don’t need to to know more than: „Sprinkle the herring with salt. Fry them in the oven. Not too long.“

Submitted by Annahita Kamali and Florian Böhm

16 books with white type on black cover

375 2

Aslak Gurholt from Yokoland made a great cover version of my 61 books book together with Martin Asbjørnsen. That’s the kind of “response” one loves to see but had never dared to hope for. Thrilling. Thank you.

Mirsad Ademaj
has kindly submitted
Eintritt frei – Tanz

374 7

I was intrigued by this book’s confidence of not trying to be something special. It almost disappears between other books on the shelf. But once you take it out, it allures with strong image sequences and peculiar design choices.

Submitted by Mirsad Ademaj

Europa Frohwein
has kindly submitted
Anonymes Bauen

373 5

Gathering fine detail, tectonic relation, truth, humanity and intimacy of historical rural buildings in northern Austria, the book appeals also with great photographs and graphic illustration. The simplified beauty of the title seems to be a bit anachronistic for its year of reprint, but I appreciate the time its referring to and it speaks for the quality of the original.

Submitted by Europa Frohwein

Fernand Léger

372 6

Another exciting catalogue from Pontus Hulten’s early days at Moderna Museet. Especially its strong cover design and the sturdy typography appeal to me most. All colour images are tipped-in. Some time ago I found a little film of the catalogue in duet with a barcode reader.

Auto Universum 1967

371 8

1967 – back then when cars had souls, refused to start on cold winter days, were much more beautiful and supposed to weigh more than two tons. “Auto-Universum 1967” is a superb book – not only for car lovers.

The Production Line of Happiness

370 6

“The Production Line of Happiness” is an unusual volume in content and form. Sampled out of press releases, visual and textual material, essays and talks on the social functions of photography it’s something in between an artist’s book and an exhibition catalogue. It feels sympathetic that Christopher Williams’ self-conception resembles more the one of a factory worker than the one of an heroic artist. You don’t take a photograph. You make it.

Album prohibido No.7

369 3

Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind. And not only beautiful books can be an inspiration. We may not know why certain objects touch and energize us. However, interesting typographical solutions can be found anywhere.

Do it – The Compendium

368 6

Don’t know exactly where my fascination for this book comes from. Is it it’s bright orange colour that is slowly fading in the sun? The Helvetica Outline font on the cover? The relaxed and casual typography and layout? It’s well-proportioned physical form? Or simply the fact, that it brings together so many of my favourite artists?

Daan van Golden – Photo Book(s)

367 8

Some time ago I saw this book in a bookshop, but didn’t buy it. To be honest, it felt a little expensive. Unfortunately Thomas Desmet’s strong and precise typography stuck with me like an earmworm. I’m glad that I finally bought it – it’s a good book in many aspects.

Fabian Diem
has kindly submitted

366 9

The Czech first edition of Mayakovsky’s famous poem 150,000.000 was illustrated by Václav Mašek. It was issued with two differently tinted soft-covers; red ink on beige paper and blue ink on pink paper along with a numbered and signed special edition. The cover art with its strong notion of the diagonal in the manner of the avant-garde, the abstracted wood-cut illustration and the simple, yet spectacular printing technique make this book such a unique piece. The typesetting follows basic rules of poetism, a sub-movement of the Czech avant-garde according to which type may become imagery and thus a part or even the poem itself.

Submitted by Fabian Diem

Carlo Mollino – Polaroids

365 4

I feel totally attracted to this book – not only because it’s full of female nudes, but also because Carlo Mollino’s photos are sensitive and intriguing songs without words. The book isn’t particularly well designed but nevertheless incredibly charming. 

France Tour Detour Deux Enfants

364 4

Godard’s astonishing twelve-part project for and about television examinates childhood within the contexts of family, home, work, and the shared idea of life and time within contemporary culture. It is based on the 19th century French children’s classic “La Tour de la France avec deux enfants”. Radical content found a radical form: A book like a briquette that reads like a score for an inner movie.

11+11 Tableaux

363 5

Pontus Hultén was one of the leading museum directors and what’s more, he established the role of the curator as we know it today. From early on he praised the role of the catalogue as “the part of the exhibition, that can travel around the world (...) and the only significant part that will remain after the exhibition is over.” During his time at Moderna Museet, Stockholm he was often involved in the catalogue design. Together with John Melin and Gösta Svensson he realized a stunning series of books with exciting typography and tactile, object-like qualities.

Wie es uns gefällt: Happy Chaos

362 6

Spontaneous rough-and-ready books have a certain erotic appeal. This one from 1981 has the pre-digital warmth of a scissors-and-copy-machine layout. Although I don’t know any of the featured artists, it’s a great and surprisingly contemporary book.

Das Karl Valentin Buch

361 6

I’m no collector, I’m a hunter. I fell in love with this book some time ago and was hunting for it since I saw it in a second hand store – unfortunately far too highly priced (fig. 1). Last week I shot a rare copy with horizontal instead of vertical stripes (fig. 2), signed by Karl Valentin and Lisl Karlstadt, at a bargain price. If you speak German, you should definitely read Valentin’s nice introduction (fig. 3). Some books can make you happy!

Richard Venlet – 00

360 6

The duty of a dustcover to convey information is driven to extremes in this book. Disproportionately filling in all the space, the designers Armand Mevis and Linda van Deursen list all the publishing information in typewriter characters. Inside, information likewise becomes the motor of the design.

Hans Hillmann – Fliegenpapier

359 4

Two masters performing a great book: Franz Greno, book design and typography; Hans Hillmann, images. With Old Masterly obsession Hillmann is transcending Dashiell Hammett’s mediocre ‘Flypaper’ story. A film noir graphic novel avant la lettre in powerful movie-like shots.

Andrea Büttner

358 4

A simple strong idea organizes the layout – the rest is typographic and tactile sensibility. This catalogue, printed on one side coated affiche paper, stands apart from the usual art book production. Delightful! 

J. Adams
has kindly submitted
Savor Stockholm


I travel to Stockholm, Sweden a couple of times every year. I always find this book at my room. This year, under a copper foiled wrap there was a beautiful cloth cover with debossed details and nice complementary colors. Took the book with me back home.

Submitted by J. Adams

Bücherreise zu Bodoni

356 5

A quiet book, amazingly unexcited, reduced, and fresh – if not to say cool – displaying a cross-section through Bodoni’s excting layout work. Great cold-glue binding!

Christian Lange
has kindly submitted
Bedeutende Objekte und persönliche Besitzstücke

355 4

A declaration of love: a novel in form of a fictitious auction catalogue, the American artist Leanne Shapton tells the love story between two people illustrated with 332 objects, photographs, letters and books.

Submitted by Christian Lange

John Heartfield – Leben und Werk

354 4

John Heartfield’s early works (book covers, posters and other printed matter) were and still are a revelation for me. The definite monograph on his oeuvre is this one, edited by his brother Wieland Herzfelde and published in the former GDR in the 1960’s. A treat for the eyes in design as well as production.

Michael Dyer
has kindly submitted
Die gute Form, Teigwaren aller Art

353 3

I came across this book on pasta in a dusty Zurich shop; I could tell by the spine alone that it was special (as is often the case). The entire book is printed in a single red ink, on a buff colored stock. The type is set discreetly but with personality. The real pleasure of the book is the pasta imagery (photos and silhouettes) shown in elevation, and sometimes in section as well. Totally unexpected presentation of material makes a lasting impression.

Submitted by Michael Dyer

Trilvensters en onderkasttypografie

352 5

This book documents a love affair: Michaël Snitker has collected almost everything on Bert Schierbeek’s experimental novel ‘De andere namen’ from 1952 – letters, reviews, publication statements, royalty calculations, interviews, references – and turned them into a wonderful book. Its tactile quality is magnificent, the refined Gill typography is a delight. Could hardly decide which pages to show, they’re all so beautiful.

Victor Malsy
has kindly submitted
The Works of Posada

351 5

Hannes Jähn is presenting the largest collection of works by Posada. José Guadalupe Posada, born in 1854 in Aguascalientes, Mexico, began his artistic career as an illustrator of religious images. At the age of 12 he was introduced to lithography. In Mexico City he worked for the publishing house of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo and opened his own studio. After the Mexican Revolution Posada put himself in service of the people. Throughout his life he was an artist of the people without becoming overly ‘folksy’. Thanks to Hannes Jähn he was rediscovered.

Submitted by Victor Malsy

Gerhard Richter – Eis

350 2

A good book can help to bring the room temperature down: Narcissus on ice – reflection, inversion and variation.

Dimitris Borsis
has kindly submitted

349 2

This is a Greek edition of the book ‘Psycho’, the novel made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation on his legendary same titled masterpiece. There must be countless editions of this book but what I like on this one, apart from Bloch’s ingenious writing of course, is the minimalism and the artistic orientation of the cover design for such a commercial title. Νο references to Alfred Hitchcock’s film usually seen on other editions with bold quotes and etc., not even a summary on the back, just a handwritten title on the cover to sell the book.

Submitted by Dimitris Borsis

Harsh Patel
has kindly submitted
Islamic Art

348 4

This survey view of a LACMA acquisition beautifully juxtaposes matter-of-fact typography and the collection’s abundance of ornate, natural motif. The production holds the same, quiet, inward gaze: essays on brown kraft paper, plates on a spartan satin.

Submitted by Harsh Patel

Most Beautiful Swiss Books 1964

347 2

Where did I find it? Most Beautiful Swiss Books 1964 – these catalogues are fruitful territory for book hunters.

So kocht die Schweiz

346 2

Cooking Swiss Typography: modernist style in everyday use, designed by Theo Frey, published by Walter Verlag, Olten.

Cardinal Pölätüo


Great book cover design is easy – you can even do it with a vintage typewriter: Stefan Themerson, Cardinal Pölätüo, Gaberbocchus Press, 1965.

Yves Klein

344 4

One of my all-time-favourites – probably the best book on Yves Klein’s work (at least the one with the best cover): ‘Yves Klein. Corps, couleur, immatériel’. Designed with sensitivity and love by Laurent Fetis. The book is a tactile delight, full of exciting surprises.


343 2

William Hall designed this simple but interesting book on concrete and its contribution to architecture: Concrete, edited by William Hall, Phaidon, 2012.

The Master


Designs by Peter Miles for Juergen Teller – forming a harmonious triad.

BMW Art Guide

341 3

Despite the baroque presence of its sponsor on the title page, this art guide is quite nice. I enjoyed the courageous combination of fonts: Arial, Akzidenz, Le Monde livre. The book has some interesting typographical details.

Neue Grafik 2

340 3

For me, issue 2 of Neue Grafik is particularly impressive. Not only because of the parts printed with spot colours, but because of an essay by Max Bill, where he captures and slightly modifies the Neue Grafik layout rules.

Sol LeWitt – Sculptures and Wall-Drawings


This Sol LeWitt catalogue from 1969 has an appealing binding and cover.

Staat Sex Amen


Manual text breaks can be fun: Beat Gloor, Staat Sex Amen, Kontrast Verlag, 1999

Floating Images

337 2

There is something about personal mood-boards – this book features Souto de Moura’s “Wall Atlas”, published just recently by Lars Müller Publishers.

My Way to Photography

336 2

Hans Finsler’s book “My Way to Photography” is a classic, published by Pendo-Verlag in 1971.

Belichtete Schweiz


What do Swiss people look like? (NZZ Folio Nr. 254, ‘Belichtete Schweiz’)

Drawings on a Bus

334 3

While riding in a bus, Ellsworth Kelly made these drawings, recording shapes, finely resonating with this great Moholy-Nagy cover. Kelly used this production dummy as a sketchbook.


333 3

There is an exciting publication series published by the Institut für Buchkunst, HGB Leipzig. I particularly enjoyed volume 7, featuring a lecture by Marianne Betz on silence (unfortunately only in German).

Fly Me to the Moon

332 2

Design is about creating value that transcends information – which my friend Ibrahim perfectly examplified with this bookish invitation.

Sammlung 1968 Karl Ströher

331 7

The white and silver typo-cover of this simple art catalogue from the late 1960’s feels totally sympathetic. It’s page layout is, at first sight, unspectacular but nevertheless characterised by a subtle spaciousness and exciting confrontations of art works.

COS Magazine Autumn/Winter 2012


Sometimes the best things are free: ‘COS Magazine, Autumn/Winter 2012’, designed by Jenny Eneqvist and Jop van Bennekom.

Medium #2 – Sculpture

329 3

‘Medium #2 – Sculpture’, published by Nieves, 2012: a small but awesome magazine by Norm. Must admit that I don’t quite get what it’s about, but well…

Klaus Born – Malerei

328 2

A nicely done catalogue by Julia Born with a silkscreen cover and admirable paintings (Scheidegger & Spiess, 2006).

Beispiel Japan – Bau und Gerät

327 3

After Bregenz, Zurich. As always, I found some nice books. Werner Blaser and Japan – a seductive liaison – ‘Beispiel Japan: Bau und Gerät’, 1965, a Kunstgewerbemuseum catalogue in two volumes.

Reading Ed Ruscha

326 3

Meanwhile, I went to Bregenz and saw a fabulous exhibition concentrating on Ed Ruscha’s book works: ‘Reading Ed Ruscha’, Kunsthaus Bregenz, until 14 October 2012.

Hello World – A Life in Ham Radio

325 2

A delightful book on amateur radio and amateur typography: ‘Hello World, A Life in Ham Radio’, Princeton Architectural Press, 2003, designed by Paul Sahre.

Promises to Keep


“Poetry is what gets lost in translation.” Robert Frost


323 2

Re-reading Walter Benjamin’s ‘Einbahnstraße’ is pure joy in the new complete works edition from Suhrkamp. Appetisingly prepared and presented by Friedrich Forssman.

TM – Februar 1972

322 3

Some covers become even more intense with traces of ageing and personal marks: a personal resumé of Karl Gerstner’s typographical work until 1972.


321 2

‘桂離宮’ – a truly ravishing book on the Katsura Palace with an elegant slipcase, realised in the most beautiful gravure printing I have ever seen.

The Architecture of Ludwig Wittgenstein


‘The Architecture of Ludwig Wittgenstein’, Bernhard Leitner, Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1973 – “The good craftsman avoids perfectionism that can degrade into a self-conscious demonstration.” Richard Sennett

Wine Making for the Amateur

319 2

‘Wine Making for the Amateur’, The Bacchus Club, 1931, designed by Carl Purington Rollins, nicely set in Caslon Old Face, with illustrations by W.A. Dwiggins.

A Wedding Invitation

318 2

Another Weingart – well, not exactly a book – but rare printed matter: Weingart’s wedding invitation, printed in lead type.

Die Lochkameras von Peter Olpe

317 2

Wolfgang Weingart designed this little book on Peter Olpe’s pinhole cameras in 1992. A spacious contents page with Weingart’s typical idiosyncrasies.

The Green of This Notebook


This photo-book with glued-in pages from Sartre’s ‘Being and Nothingness’ is an appetizer to read the whole – John Divola: ‘The Green of This Notebook’, Nazraeli Press, 2008.

Beauty in Photography


Sunday reading – yes, some traditional values are worth defending.

Baldessari sings LeWitt


Because it’s Sunday: Baldessari sings LeWitt, Rollo Press, 2009.

Book Design of Graphic Designers in Japan


Another Japanese find: gorgeous cover designs for SAC journal, found in ‘Book Design of Graphic Designers in Japan’.

阿部薫 1949-1978

312 2

阿部薫, 1949-1978, 単行本, 2001 – a book I love even though I can’t read it. On one of my favourite saxophonists Kaoru Abe. Listen to his album ‘Winter 1972’!

Totale Photographie

311 2

Karl Pawek: ‘Totale Photographie’, Walter Verlag, 1960. This classic was printed in awesome rotogravure and officially recognised as one of the most beautiful Swiss books.

Drawings 1969-1990


I love the blackness of Serra’s drawings – Richard Serra: ‘Drawings 1969-1990’, Benteli.

I Ging

309 2

Chance operations can help your design process, the I Ching too. I prefer this Swiss edition published by Walter Verlag, Olten – found by chance in an antiquarian bookshop.

56 Tree Poems

308 2

Nature speaks a universal language: Michael Snow: ‘56 Tree Poems’, Imschoot, 1999.

Der Film

307 3

A book with timeless elegance in layout and typography: ‘Der Film’, designed by Hermann Eidenbenz, Holbein Verlag, 1947. Even the photo credits are marvellously laid out.



I own just a few books set in gothic type – this is by far the most beautiful one – Albrecht Schöne: ‘Barock’, 1963.



Early typographic education: my first music book (1976).

Das Berkeley-Orakel

304 2

Jochen Gerz: ‘Das Berkeley-Orakel’, Richter Verlag, 1999. It’s a pleasure to leaf through this book.

2000 Schallplatten 1979-1999

303 2

A cover I like a lot for its almost-no-design quality. The book was laid out by the author with facsimile cutouts from his early Spex magazine music reviews.

Form/Formalismus, Funktion/Funktionalismus


Re-reading ‘Form/Formalismus, Funktion/Funktionalismus’ by Claude Schnaidt, 1984.

Die Aufgabe unserer Zeit


Timeless cover design by Walter Cyliax, 1928, Girsberger.

Raccolta R. H.

300 3

This small but excellently made catalogue was designed by Armin Hofmann. It’s from 1963 and feels as fresh as on the day it was made – a gem.

Architekturführer Schweiz

299 2

I still use this out of date architectural guide from 1969. Maybe because its cover flirts shamelessly with me.

Drei Mädchen

298 2

Francis Jammes: ‘Drei Mädchen’, Jakob Hegner, 1932 – a sensual feast! Printed in alluring letterpress Janson, an invitation for reading.

Über Schizophrenie

297 3

“The same creative mechanisms that produce culture can be found in schizophrenia.” A fascinating book with wonderful drawings by a schizophrenic patient called O.T.

Nutzen, was nützlich ist

296 2

A small booklet that Carsten Horn, a fellow student, made and gave me as a birthday present 20 years ago. It’s still precious to me in form and content.



Hans-Peter Feldmann: ‘Zeitungsphotos’, Walther König, 2006 – amazingly enough this fairly dumb concept works.

Vanessa Beecroft – Drawings and Paintings

294 3

VBDP, Electa 2007 – a publication documenting Vanessa Beecroft’s collaboration with Experimental Jetset. Well guys, your unjustified setting could be far better. Apart from the overly formalistic use of the grid this is a pretty and nicely produced book.

Never Odd or Even

293 3

Barbara Bloom: ‘Never Odd or Even’, Verlag Silke Schreiber, 1992 – you guessed it, the title is a palindrome. The book is presented in the form of leaves that the reader must cut apart with a knife, exploring both the beauty and horror of the ordering principles of symmetry.


292 4

I can’t remember exactly where and when I found this book about a Polish folk-dance ensemble ‘Mazowsze’ representing the central Polish region of Mazovia – invitingly designed by Józef Wilkoń. The printing (deep, matte gravure on coated paper) is absolutely adorable. Well, not only the printing…

The Pill Book


A badly produced American paperback that excites my sense for useless but somehow intriguing stuff: ‘The Pill Book’.

La Jetée

290 2

Thinking of Chris Marker. I admire his films and this book, one of Bruce Mau’s best designs, unreproducible in its dark, mystic beauty – at least for an iPhone.

José Loureiro 14/1/1991 – 2/3/1991

289 2

Dear @at_cb, thanks so much for your constant high-quality work, and even more for sending me physical proof – like this delicious book with drawings by Portuguese artist José Loureiro – he has a great sense of humour.

I Need Some Truth and Aspirin


Fernando Pessoa: ‘I Need Some Truth and Aspirin’ – so do I.



Rolf Janke: ‘Architekturmodelle’, Hatje 1962 – still prefer stubborn international style to contemporary lack of style.

Typographie und Bibliophilie

286 3

Richard von Sichowsky, the designer of this book with texts on type from two centuries, was an exciting typographer. His timeless work is in a class of its own (letterpress printing with 7 different typefaces for 7 sections) – excellent choice of materials. 


285 4

Mendelsohn’s ‘Amerika’ is one of my favourite books from the 1920’s. Mendelsohn went to America with his Leica, and revolutionized architectural photography with his elaborate snapshots. This book is great in every respect – nothing more to say.

It chooses you


Miranda July: ‘It Chooses You’ (Es findet dich) – oddly bizarre, but touching with a wonderful cover.

Zettel’s Traum leaflet

283 2

Yesterday I went to a TGM lecture by the head of the “anti-design-theory-movement”, Friedrich Forssman, and brought home some unique thoughts and a leaflet promoting his five years of typographical labours on ‘Zettel’s Traum’.



Some days are much better than the title of the book you’ve just found in your mailbox at home may suggest.

Call Ampersand Response


An eloquent conversation in images: Michael Dumontier and Micah Lexier: ‘Call Ampersand Response’, Nieves, 2012.

Die Kunst der Typografie

280 2

What I found in my copy of Paul Renner’s ‘Die Kunst der Typografie’: (1) early Futura test prints, (2) a typewritten carbon copy of a political assessment (or rehabilitation) of Paul Renner by the Nazis.

Marcel Duchamp – À l’infinitf


Marcel Duchamp: ‘À l’infinitf’, 1999 – a delicate typotranslation by Richard Hamilton and Ecke Bonk of Duchamp’s white box.

Living, Thinking, Looking


Friday night reading: a cheap paperback with a tactile suprise.

Mnemosyne Atlas


​Finally I got my hands on a copy of the rare ‘Mnemoysne Atlas’ box by Aby Warburg.



I like the poetic simplicity of the catalogue accompanying Roman Ondák’s documenta installation.

A Zine

275 2

The future of design education? In my opinion, Urs Lehni is completely mistaken here. For me, it’s absolutely ridiculous to assume that one can learn practical design skills from books. To be honest, I don’t know of any books that can replace guided learning by experience. Here is the foundation of design education: 1. Learn the rules (in practical excercise) 2. Learn to leave the rules (in theoretical reflection).

Le Corbusier – The Graphic Work

274 2

Apropos reprint – a classic, designed and edited by Heidi Weber, on Corbusier’s graphic work. Edition Heidi Weber, reprinted 2009.

Der Landarzt

273 2

Kafka had a strange predilection for large type in small columns and even accepted the omission of punctuation marks: Franz Kafka, Der Landarzt, Stroemfeld, 2006 – facsimile reprint with a revealing epilogue by Roland Reuss.

A Stack of Books


A Stack of Books, Triin Tamm, 2011 – not yet sure if this is a special beauty or the most useless crap I ever bought.

Il futurismo


Another beautifully printed example of Swiss typography.

Kurt Schwitters


Of course Zurich also means book shopping. I mean, how can you leave a book like this for only 10 “Stutz”?

Die mathematische Denkweise in der Kunst unserer Zeit

269 2

And a last one from Dino’s “Réserve du patron” – a student work from 1954 by Harry Spielmann. Pictures or words can’t describe the excitement of touching this sublime, perfectly made booklet.

The Printed Picture

268 2

Even if you’re only remotely interested in printing techniques (every designer should be!) – read this book: Richard Benson: ‘The Printed Picture’, MoMA, 2008.

Apfelsorten der Schweiz

267 2

Another beauty printed in 11-colour (!) chromolithography: H. Kessler: ‘Apfelsorten der Schweiz’, Schweizerischer Obstverband, 1945 – breathtaking!

Urwald Abenteuer

266 2

The weekend before last I met Dino Simonett in his new atelier in Zurich, where he served some delicious and surprising books, such as this children’s book designed by Jan Tschichold in 1946.

One Thousand Polish Book Covers


An incredible wave of inspiration, with a different accent: ‘One Thousand Polish Book Covers’, Warszawa 2012.

Living in the Lowlands 1850-2004

264 2

One of my favourite Mevis & Van Deursen “one-idea-is-enough” books: ‘Living in the Lowlands 1850-2004’, NAi, 2004.

Die 60er Jahre – Vom Happening zum Kunstmarkt


An index needn’t be boring – a sublime idea from ‘Die 60er Jahre, Kölns Weg zur Kunstmetropole: Vom Happening zum Kunstmarkt’, Kölnischer Kunstverein, 1986.

26 Nieuwe Spreuken

262 3

Out of this envelope comes a strange but nice children’s book without “words” introducing an alien alphabet (designed by Melle Hammer, 1995).

Der Typografiestreit in der Moderne


Nothing new: Bosshard and Hochuli are heavily involved with dogma discussions – I wish there were still some around. Nevertheless a pleasure to read: Hans Rudolf Bosshard, ‘Max Bill kontra Jan Tschichold’, Niggli, 2012.

Das Rendezvousproblem

260 3

Strange beauty: Hans Schabus: ‘Das Rendezvousproblem’, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2004. An ordinary calendar serves as a background for glued-in plates and collages.



A book doesn’t need glue to stick together: Heidi Stecker, Barbara Steiner: ‘Sammeln’, GfZK, 2007.

Der Charme des Systematischen


Somehow idiosynchratic but quite interesting: Ferdinand Kramer: ‘Der Charme des Systematischen’, 1991.

Karel Teige – Animator

257 2

Karel Teige: ‘Animator’, Stedelijk 1994, designed by Jaap van Triest in his excitingly over-dense layout style. Note the beautiful book-in-book idea!

The Technology of Man


‘The Technology of Man’, eloquently designed and edited by Derek Birdsall in 1979.

Nichts, Nothing


Today: ‘Nichts, Nothing’, Schirn Kunsthalle, 2006, designed by Raffinerie.

Ton Bruynèl


OK, not exactly a book but a beautiful album cover (1984) for great music by the underrated Dutch composer Ton Bruynèl.

Ed Ruscha with six books on his head


Jerry McMillan: ‘Ed Ruscha with six books on his head’, 1970 — thanks @ibrahimltd.

Riley and his Story


Monica Haller: ‘Riley and his Story’ – the book is better than the XTC-mashup promises. Download a PDF of excerpts.

An Anthology of Concrete Poetry

251 2

Some books make promises they can’t keep. Anyway, this is a wonderful book: ‘An Anthology of Concrete Poetry’, Something Else Press, 1967

Writings about Graphic Design


Scheduled this weekend: Reading or re-reading Richard Hollis’ collected essays (‘Writings about Graphic Design’, 2012). My only reservation – as so often – concerns the binding. PUR glue is to books what mp3 is to acoustic music – a compression of agility.

Light and Color in the Outdoors

249 2

Edward Tufte recommended this book as a change-your-life classic: Marcel Minnaert: ‘Light and Color in the Outdoors’. The German edition (Springer) is particularly splendid – designed by Albert Gomm.

Sleeves of Desire


‘Sleeves of Desire’: The charm of a well-worn proof copy.

Naked City


My favourite page from Weegee’s ‘Naked City’, 1945 – awesome book! 

Anri Sala

246 3

The wolf in sheep’s clothing: a staple-bound book seductively executed in every respect. Anri Sala, ‘Serpentine Gallery Catalogue’, 2011, design by Studio Quentin Walesch.

Back Cover Magazine No. 5


In my humble opinion @backcovermag is the best European design magazine – nothing else to say.

Nick’s Film – Lightning Over Water


Wim Wenders: ‘Nick’s Film – Lightning Over Water’, screenplay, 1981, design by Franz Greno.

Radikales Theater

243 3

A gem from the 60s: Ute Nyssen: ‘Radikales Theater’, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1969. Printed throughout on red paper. Default typewriter typography by Hannes Jähn. Absorbing.

Lucio Fontana – 1946-1960 Zeichen und Zeichnung

242 2

Lucio Fontana: ‘1946-1960 Zeichen und Zeichnung’, Museum Liner, Appenzell, designed by Studio CCRZ. The cover is printed white on black cardboard.

Fälschung und Fake


NOT a Suhrkamp book, despite the cover design.

Mechanisierte Grafik

240 2

In many ways (primarily content-wise) a remarkable book with nice ageing, except for the wrong grain direction of the paper. The last page perfectly sums up Renner’s arguments. 

Monographien und Materialien zur Buchkunst, Band 2

239 2

‘Monographien und Materialien zur Buchkunst’, Band 2, Verlag Wolfgang Tiessen, 1969 – an ageless design.

Log May 1974 – August 1976

238 2

Claes Oldenburg, ‘Log May 1974 – August 1976’, Book A, Press Log. All newspaper articles of this illustrated bibliography are shown in full-page facsimile.



Phrygio: ‘Chronicvm’, 1534 – for me, one of the most exciting (and beautiful) books one can own. Can’t stop flipping through these musical page compositions.

Cubism and Abstract Art


A cover can provide a comprehensive view of a book’s subject.



Brigitte Willberg: ‘Wechselwirkungen’, 1999 – a nicely designed booklet on her graphical work.

Rot 38


‘Rot’ edition, published by Hansjörg Mayer in the 60’s.

Freunde + Freunde

233 2

Or this one from 1969 – another member of the Neobond family with 4 individually designed parts – here the one by Karl Gerstner. 


232 2

I have a certain affection for book jackets printed on Neobond. They often prove to be real beauties – as is this one, designed by Manuela Dechamps Otamendi.


231 2

Laozi: ‘Daodejing’, Chinese and German, designed by Cornelia Feyll and Friedrich Forssman for the beautiful Reclam Bibliothek series.

All the World’s Fighter Planes

230 2

Fiona Banner, ‘All the World’s Fighter Planes’, The Vanity Press, 2006.

Bilder und Texte – Literatur

229 2

Juergen Teller’s funny and not so funny ZEITmagazin columns finally became a nice book – together with an appendix documenting the hefty, scathing reviews of the readers.

War Requiem


It was really an epiphany, the moment I saw this album in a second-hand bookstore (!) in 1985.

Kultur & Gespenster


‘Kultur & Gespenster #13’: I’m thrilled by Christoph Steinegger’s strange spine typography.

Vom Terror der Verschwendung


Even a postcard can shine like a book.

Theorie der Texte


“Wie die Entropie eines Textes läßt sich die Entropie seiner Typografie bestimmen.” (Like the entropy of a text, the entropy of its typography can be determined.) Max Bense, 1962.

Konturen einer Geistesgeschichte der Mathematik


The reader can use the margins according to his or her precise needs.

Friday evening belongs to the reader


Friday evening belongs to the reader.



For this artist’s book, John Bock inserted a poster into second-hand books and oversprayed the titles.

City as a Map of Ideas

221 2

Back to my fondness for “useless” books: Matt Mullican’s ‘City as a Map of Ideas’ is an endless cartographic list.

Why Women Like to Buy Textiles That Feel Nice


Olaf Nicolai: ‘Why women like to buy textiles that feel nice’, designed by Ina Kwon and Helmut Völter.

Tausend Plateaus


The absence of typography on the spine gives this book an incredibly abstract quality.

Das deutsche Lichtbild

218 2

A gorgeous book photograph by Elsbeth Heddenhausen, 1932, from the beautifully printed ‘Das deutsche Lichtbild – Jahresschau 1933’.

Ornament? Ohne Ornament

217 3

Another Kunstgewerbemuseum-catalogue from 1965, designed by Jörg Hamburger – a timeless beauty. Again – the old problem with red, sorry!

Color and Gray

216 2

I really enjoy Claudia Angelmaier’s book compositions. Her catalogue ‘Color and Gray’ is quite nice – designed by Severin Wucher.

Three books from Büchergilde Gutenberg


In the 1930’s they had a strange fondness for edge colouring (three books from Büchergilde Gutenberg).

Das kleine Buch der 100 Bücher


“Are there too many books?” from: ‘Das kleine Buch der 100 Bücher’ (a present from Ibrahim – thanks!)



Hey type geeks, wake up ... here is the quiz of the day: Spot the typographic accident! Can’t find it? You’re in the best of company: the Baudin Prize Jury couldn’t either. Love this cover nonetheless.


212 4

This little book on Peter Erni’s life and drawings is an underrated gem of Swiss design from the 1960’s. I really enjoy its modest, perfectly adequate size and the always appealing gravure printing.

Mathematik 1

211 6

Christian Lange introduced me to this old maths schoolbook published in the GDR – former Eastern Germany. It’s printed throughout with primary colours and shows beautiful illustrations in perfect page layouts. If only today’s schoolbooks would also have this visual appeal and aesthetic impact.

The Family of Man

210 2

‘The Family of Man’, 1955 Edition – the embossing and the overall feel of the book are marvellous, not to mention the wonderful endpapers. Thanks for introducing me to this treasure, Katharina!

Goldmanns Großer Weltatlas

209 2

Today I bought a cheap German “light” version of Bayer’s ‘World Geographic Atlas’, in large parts identical to the 1953 Container Corporation edition, but better printed. Always wondering why jpgs have these problems with red.

1234 Most Speedy Drawings


Most speedy cover design by Dieter Roth.

God’s Country and My People


“This recombining of the visual and the verbal sought to hold fast to what was vanishing.” Wright Morris: ‘God’s Country and My People’, 1968.

Tendences actuelles de l’école de Paris


Simple solutions can be so convincing…

Die Form der Zeit

205 2

There is nothing like a nicely wrapped book – this exciting, important title should at least be available in every design faculty’s library.

I Love Fast Cars


Fanatical devotion: Craig McDean: ‘I Love Fast Cars’, Powerhouse Books, 1999, designed by M/M (Paris).

Reading too many books at once


Some people suspect me of reading too many books at once – I can’t understand why.

Kurt Schwitters – I is Style


Sublime book design (cover, interior) by Walter Nikkels – good guy.

And It Came to Pass – Not to Stay


How little I know – “ventilated prose” by Buckminster Fuller – worthwhile reading!

The Last Whole Earth Catalog

200 2

The bible of counterculture – providing encyclopedic, anti-consumerist access to tools and knowledge. Items are listed if they are useful as tools, relevant to education, high-quality or low-cost and easily available.

Einaudi’s Paperback Design


Nice – ‘Einaudi’s Paperback Design’ is reacting to the physical properties of a book.

Graphics Handbook


Introduction, printed in a larger size of type in the hope you will read it (Ken Garland: ‘Graphics Handbook’, 1966).

Mao Bible


I like the way my copy of Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’ fits on top of Beckett’s collected works.

Helvetica and the New York City Subway System

196 2

Dear Paul Shaw, I really enjoyed your report on the NY Subway System, especially this little red subway sign, but what happened to the left-hand column on the back? InDesign default breaks?

Printing Explained


“This is a book about a process – not about a product.” Herbert Simon and Harry Carter, Printing Explained, Dryad Press, 1931.

Two voided books


Two voided books by John Baldessari, 1990.

Discovery of the Circle

193 2

Bruno Munari’s little books on the elementary geometric figures are a constant source of inspiration. Munari concludes that circles, squares and triangles are innate forms, not inventions.



Journal of the CCA Glasgow: Some things only reveal their beauty when you touch them.

Art Titles 1969-2010


Can’t explain my persistent fascination for books that have no immediate value outside themselves: Gilbert & George, ‘Art Titles 1969-2010’, Walther König, 2011

Das Kind und die Schrift


Recommended reading – not least for our education ministry (designed by Philipp Luidl, published by @typographische).

Das neue große Kochbuch

189 2

Overwritten and expanded: another kind of “artist’s book”: my mother’s cookbook (Roland Gööck: ‘Das neue große Kochbuch’, 1963).

Do It Yourself Kunst


Karl Gerstner’s funny guide to art production – hilariously written and designed by himself (Galerie Der Spiegel, 1970).

Weather by Richard Hell


Richard Hell’s mind-messing poetry with a wonderful cover design by Christopher Wool.

Viabizzuno Report 26

186 2

Traces of Fronzoni in Milan: ‘Viabizzuno Report 26’ (the corporate identity for Viabizzuno was one of Fronzoni’s last works) and Viabizzuno showroom, via Solferino 18, Milan.



‘Looking in Holes’ by Peter Piller, from his fantastic book ‘Zeitung’, designed and edited by Christoph Keller.

Daily Mirror Book

184 2

Dieter Roth’s ‘Daily Mirror’ series are the foundation for Hans-Rudolf Lutz’s later newspaper experiments. Roth bound the found material of the newspaper clippings (2 × 2 cm) into a 150-page book.

Irrweg und Umkehr


The title of this book, for which Tschichold designed the cover in 1946, sounds programmatic for his volte-face from asymmetry.

Joseph Beuys – Werke aus der Sammlung Karl Ströher


Joseph Beuys, ‘Werke aus der Sammlung Karl Ströher’, Kunstmuseum Basel, 1969.

Klau Mich

181 2

Christian Chruxin is a totally underrated German designer. His anti-aesthetic feels so 2012, however – it’s 1968 (Edition Voltaire).



I confess, I’m a fan of Bill Drummond’s works and books. Order this one immediately, but read the warning first!

Das lebenslängliche Interview

179 3

‘Das lebenslängliche Interview – Die Sammlung Erna und Curt Burgauer’, designed by Max Koller, 1970. Intelligent grid typography can create layouts with a marvellous rhythm (by the way, nice “origami” dust-jacket).

Andy Warhol


Andy Warhol: ‘Moderna Museet’, 1968. The epitome of the artist’s book as exhibition catalogue.

Manuel Typographique

177 2

Fournier’s ‘Manuel Typographique’ together with Harry Carter’s translation and James Mosley’s introduction. An enchanting edition printed by the Lehrdruckerei Technische Hochschule Darmstadt in 1995.

Bestimmungstabelle für Nester und Eier einheimischer Vögel


Happy Easter! (Noll: ‘Bestimmungstabelle für Nester und Eier einheimischer Vögel’, Basel, 1968)


175 4

This photobook comes from a time when the Caribic islands had still the smell of an exotic and erotic paradise. ‘Caribia’, sponsored by an Hamburg shipping company, testifies that Herbert List is definitely one of the great documentary photographers on par with the Magnum stars. It’s easy to get it second hand and super cheap.

Another Book


First page from ‘Another Book’, Koenig Books, 2010. Hans-Peter Feldmann argues why he could not let a designer do his books.

On Reading

173 2

The excitement of opening a book, reading the first lines and getting lost in a parallel world: ‘On Reading’ by my favourite photographer André Kertész is a lovely little book.

Ein Buch ist erst ein Buch wenn es ein Buch geworden ist


A book is not a book until it has become a book. So true! Good night.

Hanne Darboven – Schreibzeit


Hanne Darboven, ‘Schreibzeit’, 1975–1999. 32 volumes plus index, 4025 pages.

Die Tücke des Objekts

170 2

Another book I carry a torch for – quite marvellously designed by Marcel Schmid and Thomas Gfeller in 1991. A vademecum (Latin: go with me) composed of sampled facsimiles and printed on onionskin paper.

Drawings 1956-1976


Learning from book covers: Why “bad” typography can be fine typography.

Alles oder Nichts

168 2

Those were the days – when Franz Greno typeset the volumes of ‘Die andere Bibliothek’ using lead type until 1996 (Volume 144) with painstaking care for typographic detail.

Duchamp in Munich


‘Duchamp in Munich’ – The best part of a somewhat thin exhibition was Thomas Mayfried’s design and printed ephemera.

Charles Darwin


Charles Darwin, Hubers Klassiker. Pictures don’t tell how beautifully Rudolf Hostettler’s Garamond is set.

Some Magazine


Some Magazine’ is proof that student magazines don’t have to be overly formalistic in approach or devoid of content.

Koenen Dictionary


Together with Schreuder’s book I bought this beautiful and absolutely economically set ‘Koenen Dictionary’.

Lay In, Lay Out


“The profession of graphic design is criminal” – Still fun to read @pietschreuders text from 1977. “Graphic designers: it is advisable not to deal with them directly, but they can be quite entertaining when observed from a certain distance.” English translation in ‘Looking Closer 3: Classic Writings on Graphic Design’.

Martin Creed – Works


Martin Creed: ‘Works’, Thames & Hudson, 2010. A book with a talkative spine.

De Aetna


The last page of Pietro Bembo’s ‘De Aetna’ designed by Francesco Griffo in 1496, as found here.

I’m Thinking of a Number

160 3

Micah Lexier: ‘I’m Thinking of a Number’. A picture of a book showing a picture of a picture of books, featuring Lexier’s invitations, books, catalogues, objects, multiples, t-shirts and other epehemera, 1998 to 2010 – published by Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, designed by Andrew Di Rosa & Emma Wright.

Schapen Tellen


Hans van der Meer, ‘Schapen Tellen’ (Counting Sheep) ... worth considering!

The Plan

158 2

I don’t know why I love this book by Michael Schmelling, dirtily printed on thin newspaper stock, but I do. Michael photographed homes of obsessive-compulsive hoarders while working with the Disaster Masters task force – published by Jandl Books (they have some more beauties ...).

Double or Nothing

157 2

51N4E, ‘Double or Nothing’. After cutting the fore-edge, the book block (newspaper stock) was milled for binding. I dearly love the opening picture of this architecture book, designed by Zak Kyes.

Formen lesen


Paulus Dreibholz is not only an exqusite typographic designer but also an intelligent writer – recommended reading.

Merve Backcovers


Nice: ‘The Backcovers’ @MerveVerlag are increasingly becoming concrete poetry ...

Catalogue raisonée of the books by Martin Kippenberger


Uwe Koch, ‘Catalogue raisonné’ of Kippenberger’s books. Being sold off at a steal at Walther König.

The Fox 2

153 2

Without doubt one of the most exciting art journals of the 1970s: ‘The Fox’, Number 2, New York, 1975, published by the Art & Language Foundation Inc. “If you are concerned with art as an instrument of social and cultural transformation you are urged to participate in this journal.”

Und sie bewegt sich doch


An early publication by Lars Müller Publishers, when it was still LIT Verlag: Ilya Ehrenburg, ‘Und sie bewegt sich doch’, LIT Verlag, 1986 (original edition Moscow, 1922)

Oase #83


One of my favourite ‘Oase’ covers is this one for Issue #83, designed by Karel and Aagje Martens.

Interview Book

150 2

Katrin Erthel and Tabea Nixdorff – two students from the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig – conducted an interview with me and turned it into a nice little book.

The Education of Young Design


Yesterday I stumbled upon this essay by Edward McDonald in ‘Eye Magazine’ 12/1994 – re-reading was worth it. Read it here. I miss important articles like this one in current design publications.

Piet Zwart

148 4

Documents in the Visual Arts, Vol. 1: ‘Piet Zwart’, Niggli, 1966. Ragged right columns become poetry – Fridolin Müller edited and designed this series. The Zwart book is printed in immaculately saturated spot colours.

Kinetische Kunst

147 2

‘Kinetische Kunst’, Kunstgewerbemuseum Zurich, 1960. Fridolin Müller has an unerring sense of space. It’s rather strange to see what design history includes and leaves out. One day I’ll write a “B-Side History of Design” (promise!).

Jean Tinguely

146 2

Featuring Fridolin Müller, a wonderful but neglected designer best known, if at all, for his Schützenfest poster. ‘Jean Tinguely’, Gimpel & Hanover Gallery, Zurich, 1966. Catalogue and invitation card.

The Legacy of the Modern Movement

145 2

This catalogue, pleasantly designed by Luc Derycke, features important texts of the Modern Movement in facsimile.

Paul Valéry Moi

144 2

To come back to Paul Valéry once more: Paul Rand has designed an exquisite English edition of his collected works.

The Sweet Flypaper of Life

143 2

Some books tell stories in a dual sense: I found this note in my copy of the 1955 classic. I admire its splendidly narrative book design, as well as Roy DeCarava’s photographic blackness.

Sonne auf der Haut


Moritz Zwimpfer’s simple little book on colour ‘Sonne auf der Haut’ inspires me time and again. The colour of today’s sky: “open for everything, not yet determined”.


141 2

In 1924 Paul Valéry gathered the most brilliant minds of his generation and published the magazine ‘Commerce’. It was issued three times a year – green: spring, red: summer, brown: winter. 

If I Had a Mind


“You are not obliged to take that insult for granted, choose the important ideas, the rest throw away.” – ‘If I Had a Mind’, 1971. For this book Klaus Groh invited concept-art artists to edit and make up their own pages.

Learning from Las Vegas


Not for me with my tight budget: first edition, designed by Muriel Cooper. Luckily we have libraries.

Das ABC eines Typografen


In his new book ‘Das ABC eines Typografen’ Jost Hochuli rediscovers beautiful books published by Jakob Hegner. Hochuli writes: “Hegner’s book designs remind me of the Shaker’s furniture: they are functional, of undecorrated simplicity, simply beautiful.” 

Probe Nr. 462


‘Probe Nr. 462’. What did those guys at Berthold smoke?

The Nam


Is it profane to be in awe of a book that no one ever reads? Fiona Banner describes ‘Apocalypse now’ in 995 pages. 

Yvonne Rainer – Space Body Language


‘Yvonne Rainer, Space Body Language’ shows the American choreographer’s work and some nice Fluxus ephemera.

2 + 52


Some cover designs are so subtle that you almost miss them: ‘2 + 52’, Charles Jongejans, Melle + de typografieklas, en Mart Stam, designed and edited by Jan P. Boterman, published by Uitgeverij De Buitenkant, Amsterdam, 2005.


133 2

By looking at a book’s index you can measure the quality of its design. ‘Sandberg’, Kosmos Pub., 1975, is one of Pieter Brattinga’s best book designs and a thoroughly enjoyable book.

The Cosmological Eye


Henry Miller: ‘The Cosmological Eye’, 1939 – from the library of Philip L. Field, Kenneth Goldsmith’s grandfather via @thejournalinc.

Variantology V


Ever heard of the exciting Variantology Project? Naples centered Vol. V is a great read: Neapolitan Affairs, edited by Siegfried Zielinkski and Eckhard Fürlus, designed by Silke Fahnert and Uwe Koch.

The Architecture of the City


Aldo Rossi’s ‘The Architecture of the City’, designed by Massimo Vignelli, is still a key text – not only for architects – and worth re-reading.

A Book About Some People and Time

129 2

It’s always fun when Susana and Kai @at_cb come for a visit and we can exchange new ideas or books. Their ‘A Book About Some People and Time’ for artist Myung Feyen is incredibly musical – a polyphonic fugue. 

Vorzüge der Absichtslosigkeit


This book featuring Peter Piller’s ‘Office Drawings’ is rather poetically titled ‘Advantages of Non-intentionality’ (published and designed by Christoph Keller).

Zeitlose Kunst

127 2

Publishing art in anti-art times: Ludwig Goldscheide: ‘Zeitlose Kunst’, Phaidon/Wien, 1934. It almost seems as though I have a weakness for books that are bound in raw linen and have bold lettering on their title page.

La Table


With ‘La Table’ Francis Ponge expands the author’s scope into the typographical. “Qu’est-ce que le silence dans la lecture? – Le silence est le sable des bruits.” Interesting article on Ponge’s Table in ‘Backcover Magazine’ 1/2008 (incidentally one of the last design mags worth reading).

Notations Archiv 1

125 6

‘Notations Archiv 1’, raster-noton: You can learn so much about typography by translating, i.e. notating music. This bookish box is the output of a project at the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig, supervised by Cyan and Carsten Nicolai. Each volume is designed by a different student. Hardly could decide which one to show – they’re all so beautiful.

New Waves


There are so many waves to surf ...

Lo Studio Boggeri 1933-1981


Sharp Shooting: ‘Lo Studio Boggeri 1933-1981’, Electa, designed by Bruno Monguzzi.

Dieter Roth Inserate

122 2

Dieter Roth: ‘Advertisements’. “Those pages are like a junkyard. So I thought I’d just stick a little tear in them.” After 114 ads, the newspaper terminated the contract, supposedly because readers had complained. This book was carefully designed by Stephan Fiedler.

Mein Autobuch


My first book ever. The disproportionately large VW Beetle shaped my early childhood design preferences.


120 2

Some books age with grace, even when they are printed on ephemeral paper containing wood pulp – like this one, designed by Wim Crouwel, which has become even more touching through browning.

Vilém Flusser


I love this strangely ephemeral cover with printed scratches designed by Philipp Luidl 1993 for Typographische Gesellschaft München. Vilém Flusser: ‘Typen und Charaktere, Vortrag für die TGM’, 1993.

Die Schöne Schrift

118 3

From time to time the two thick volumes of František Muzika’s ‘Die Schöne Schrift’ are on my desk. The book is not only fun to read, but also packed with cultural and historical information and probably the only treatise on typography in German at this level of completeness. Unfortunately there is only this German translation published by Dausien and the Czech original ‘Krásné písmo ve vyvoji latinky’.

The Situationist International


If you are even basically interested in the Situationist International, you need this book (headline = title). Designed by Marie Lusa and published by JRP Ringier.

Cindy Sherman


Some books have something to hide, as does this beauty designed by Lars Hall AB.

Uncreative Writing


Kenneth Goldsmith’s ‘Uncreative Writing’ won me over right from its title. It’s an unexspectedly good read.

3rd Person Archive


John Stezaker’s ‘3rd Person Archive’, subtly designed by YESstudio, features the smallest image sizes ever seen.

Deutsches Mosaik

113 2

Otl Aicher put this book with fold-out dustjacket on the nightstand of every athlete at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The reader-friendly “Bible replacement” is set flush left, ragged right, in Walbaum and Univers 45.

Thomas Hirschhorn


Thomas Hirschhorn, ‘Kurt Schwitters-Plattform: Untere Kontrolle’, Sprengel Museum, 2012. The designers (Vasco, Paris) used an interesting Mercator revival credited as Mercator CC by Charles Mazé.

Essentials in Conducting


Some old books look as if they were hip artefacts of our time ... 

Serpentine Pavilion


Wonderful essay by Alexander Kluge in an exciting book designed by Henrik Nygren on Zumthor’s Serpentine pavilion.

Geschichte der Mechanischen Prinzipien

109 2

​István Szabó, ‘Geschichte der Mechanischen Prinzipien und ihrer wichtigsten Anwendungen’, Birkhäuser, 1976. I feel more and more attracted to the dry typography of the underrated Swiss designer Albert Gomm.

The Typographic Contribution to Language


There is way too little demanding reflection on typography. Robert Waller fills this vacuum with his profound research ... He has made most of his texts available online, including his thesis which I printed and bound.

Le Spectacle Dans La Rue


Le Spectacle Dans la Rue’, Capelli, 2005. If you could only own one book on poster design, this would be it.

Frank Lloyd Wright Autobiography

106 2

Sunday reading: ‘Frank Lloyd Wright – An Autobiography’. Found my copy 15 years ago in the far corner of an antiquarian bookstore in Hanover, New Hampshire, for one dollar. (On the return-flight my luggage was 20 kg overweight. Those were the days before internet bookshops were born.)

Dan Graham


To print the contents page on the cover is not an invention of our time – ‘Dan Graham’, published by Walther König in 1972.

Aicher and Enzensberger for BMW

104 3

Back when advertising could have cultural value. Concept: Otl Aicher, text: Hans Magnus Enzensberger (!), who also started this magazine. Müller-Brockmann drew a strange typeface for the headlines.

Investigation Into the Physical Properties of Books


W. A. Dwiggins published an ‘Investigation Into the Physical Properties of Books’ in 1919, concluding that “All Books of the Present Day Are Badly Made”. Probably any ambitious designer of any generation would find that Dwiggins’s chart applies to their own day.

A Young Patriot in the American Revolution

102 2

‘A Young Patriot in the American Revolution’, 1981. Good book design knows how to tell stories. As in this private edition elegantly designed by the great Bradbury Thompson. He said: “I believe an avid interest in Type necessarily includes a zest for everyday life.”



‘Friedrich Hölderlin – Sämtliche Werke’, Frankfurter Ausgabe, Vol. 6. Typographic translations of pure poetry.

Alvar Aalto


An all time favourite – for the cover typography as well as the architect!

Our Home Shek Kip Mei

99 3

This is the only book I own that is housed in a cloth dust-jacket. It is a photobook dedicated to the people who lived at Shek Kip Mei housing estate, Hong Kong, from 1954 to 2006.

L’effet Gutenberg

98 4

Re-reading Baudin’s faboulous book ‘L’effet Gutenberg’ – or at least trying to – with a French dictionary, as no translation exists. Baudin reflects not only on the art of typography, but on the design of the page and the ever-changing means of printing and designing with type.

Soy Cuba


Carole Goodman, Claudio Sotolongo and Stephen Heller present post-revolutionary Cuban cinema posters. Don’t be fooled by the cover – there are many gems in this book.

Complete Penguin Shakespeare


Hans Schmoller’s economical typography for the ‘Complete Penguin Shakespeare’, published in 1969, is pure and convincing. 

Voyage au bout de la nuit


I have a love-hate relationship with Celine’s prose. It eviscerates everything around him, as well as himself.

Persistent Huts


Derek Sullivan: ‘Persistent Huts‘ (published 2008). Books are architecture built out of ‘Psychobuildings’ ... 

File Under Architecture

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Architecture is a word – Muriel Cooper created this book with a handmade feel and a bad bookbinder, but nevertheless it’s an immaculate design. 

Introduction to Typography


Every typography nerd should internalise this quote on the title page of Oliver Simon’s ‘Introduction to Typography’: “The old artists of the classical school were never egotists. Egotism has been and remains responsible for many defects of modern typography.”

Allora & Calzadilla

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Weight can be a surprising as well as awe-inspiring means of design – as in this strange beauty. ‘Allora & Calzadilla & Etcetera’, Koenig Books, 2009, designed by Yes.

Capitolo Zero

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A typographical score of exceptional beauty: Giovanna Sandri: ‘Capitolo Zero’ (published by Lerici Editore in 1969). ‘Capitolo Zero’ è una avventura dentro il segno (Capitolo Zero is an adventure inside a dream).

Book Look Book


Book Look Book’: While sitting at his bookfair stand, Jörg Koopman took beautiful photos of beautiful people looking at his books – beautifully executed by Keller Maurer Design. For best separations around ask Christian Albrecht – he also made this book shine and gave me one of his rare voucher copies – many thanks.

The Aims of Education


“Culture is the activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty and humane feeling. Scraps of information have nothing to do with it. A merely well-informed man is the most useless bore on God’s earth” – thus Alfred North Whitehead writes in this seminal book.

Paul Strand


Paul Strand’s ‘Land der Gräser’ was sensitively laid out, typeset and gravure printed in the former East Germany in 1962. It seems to me that people in the 1960s were less afraid of black in black-and-white reproductions. Maybe “blackness” is nowadays felt to be a metaphor for death.

Bill Drummond – 17


I really love Bill Drummond’s books. If only his UK printers had a sensibility for the running direction of paper. ‘To burn a million quid’ (one of Drummond’s best works) seems to have become a normal practice today. 

Dick Higgins

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‘Foew&ombwhnw’ by Dick Higgins, Something Else Press, 1969 – Another bible: this book is nothing but great!

On Semantic Poetry


In his ‘Semantic Sonata’ Themerson structures text prosodically with ‘semantic typography’. “One can understand the Themersonian ‘Internal Vertical Justification’ as a special case of what designers know as alignment”, writes Kinross in his Froshaug book, “whereby elements within a visual field are given order by letting them run from or to the same vertical axis.”



Stanislas Dehaene’s book on reading is not visually appealing, but essential to every typographic designer’s library. English edition here.

Travels in Modern Architecture


This fake leather cover from 1989 feels throughly modern with poetic reference to its title. A good read, by the way!



Two small books on somehow interrelated issues written and designed by Eric Gill. ‘Art’ was published by The Bodley Head in 1934. This is the fourth edition of 1950, regrettably reset in Bodoni.


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Two small books on somehow interrelated issues written and designed by Eric Gill. Well worth rereading. ‘Unemployment’ was published by Faber & Faber in 1933.

Im Laboratorium der Moderne


Matthias Noell: ‘Im Laboratorium der Moderne’ (published 2011). A reading book on Doesburg that reveals its secrets at second sight.

Book of a Thousand Tongues

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One of the most exciting books on typography I own. The ‘Book of a Thousand Tongues’ (here second edition, published in 1972) features facsimile images of Bible excerpts in 1399 languages.

Valerio Olgiati


Two fine booklets on ‘Valerio Olgiati’, designed by Dino Simonett (with Bruno Margreth) – the square shape being a lecture.

Vom Bau der Kirche

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Rudolf Schwarz: ‘Vom Bau der Kirche’ (published 1947). Angelic conceptual illustrations between architectural drawings and pictograms. And, as a counterpoint, typography with Gill sans, nicely printed with letterpress.

Ed Ruscha – Writings


Ed Ruscha, ‘Leave Any Information at the Signal. Writings’, published in 2002. Enjoyed this book and its cover, a loaded conceptual gesture.

A Good Book


Books that start on the title page are often good books – as is this one: John Körmeling: ‘A Good Book’, designed by Geertjan Dusselje (published 2002).

Music Box


William Engelen, ‘Music Box’. A simple and elegant catalogue reminiscent of a musical score for artist-composer Engelen.

Die neue Stadt


‘Basler politische Schriften 1-3’, edited by Markus Kutter, designed by Karl Gerstner, Verlag Felix Handschin, Basel, 1955-56. It’s fascinating to see how the typographical skill, expression and formal refinement of the young Karl Gerstner has evolved over these three publications. Here: ‘Basler politische Schriften 3 – Die neue Stadt’.

Achtung: die Schweiz

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‘Basler politische Schriften 1-3’, edited by Markus Kutter, designed by Karl Gerstner, Verlag Felix Handschin, Basel, 1955-56. It’s fascinating to see how the typographical skill, expression and formal refinement of the young Karl Gerstner has evolved over these three publications. Here: ‘Basler politische Schriften 2 – Achtung: die Schweiz’.

Wir selber bauen unsre Stadt

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‘Basler politische Schriften 1-3’, edited by Markus Kutter, designed by Karl Gerstner, Verlag Felix Handschin, Basel, 1955-56. It’s fascinating to see how the typographical skill, expression and formal refinement of the young Karl Gerstner has evolved over these three publications. Here: ‘Basler politische Schriften 1 – Wir selber bauen unsre Stadt’.

Film Socialisme


An appendix to a brilliant film in the form of a little book: Jean-Luc Godard, ‘Film Socialisme’.

Max Bill


An exceptionally awesome catalogue Max Bill designed in 1956. I get so excited whenever I take it off the shelf.

Otl Aicher, Gestalter


This book, designed and sent by my friend Berthold Weidner, arrived today. Will not open until Xmas – at least I’ll try not to.

Design and Crime


Maybe this book (strange line break on the cover, don’t have a clue what it wants to say) shouldn’t lie on my nightstand. It infiltrates my dreams.

Der Mut zur Wahrheit


Michel Foucault: ‘Der Mut zur Wahrheit’ (English edition). Astonishing hallucinogenic documents ... 

Ein Gespräch mit Louise Bourgeois


An engaging read for a Sunday with a lightly falling snow: How to live 98 years without growing old. 

Another Scale of Architecture


There is something about white books: Junya Ishigami: ‘Another Scale of Architecture’. Not only the cover is pristine.

Thoughts on Design


Paul Rand, ‘Thoughts on Design’, 1947. How playful an emboss can be – beautiful.

Joseph Moxon – Mechanick Exercises


Re-reading Moxon’s ‘Mechanick Exercises’. My copy is a gift Berthold Wolpe gave to Folio font designer Konrad F. Bauer.

Die Lochkameras von Peter Olpe

A pleasant booklet on Peter Olpe’s pinhole cameras, designed by Wolfgang Weingart in 1992.

Andor Foldes – Erinnerungen


Andor Foldes: ‘Erinnerungen’. I bought this book for one eurocent. The best Bartók interpreter is a wonderful storyteller.

Listen! These are wonderful recordings I recommend without reservation: I II

Alfred Stieglitz – The Key Set


Alfred Stieglitz, ‘The Key Set’, Vol. II, designed by Derek Birdsall. Stieglitz’s clouds – Equivalents – are pure poetry.

What is a Designer?


Another book to read again and again: Norman Potter, ‘What Is a Designer?’ wholeheartedly recommended (here the revised third edition from 1989).

Design for the Real World


Important books by designers, part II: Victor Papanek: ‘Design For The Real World’. Read the section on the Ulm School of Design (p. 227).



‘Kulturbolschewismus?’ – old and new. It’s seldom that designers have the guts and the sense to write essential books (first edition published in 1932, reprint with annotations by Roland Reuss and Peter Staengle published in 2003).

From Afar it was an Island


Bruno Munari, ‘From Afar It Was an Island’. Nice, but dear Italian printers: paper has a running direction!

Slanted 16


“Dieser ganze aufgeblasene Designballon – ich hasse den wie die Pest (This whole overblown design balloon – I hate it like the plague!)”. Jost Hochuli in an interview in Slanted 16.

The Clock


Christian Marclay’s ‘The Clock’ is a fine, thick artist’s book. Every minute of a day is represented by a film still. I like the noble restraint of Laurent Benner’s design, but I don’t quite get the fashion for ugly justified text.

How to Speak Japanese Correctly


‘How to Speak Japanese Correctly’ – the thingness of books is an experience generator.

On Writing Well


If you don’t like the cover but the book, make your own jacket. Essential reading for every designer by the way. It’s also a book on design in a metaphorical sense. Ugly German edition (the translation is better than the original cover design – under my jacket).



Gerhard Merz is striving for the absolute, for perfection. What he left out of the equation: bookbinding. 

Long Life Cool White


Very well worth reading! My copy met with an accident, which seems to undermine its title (no pun intended). 

Viviane Sassen


Viviane Sassen, ‘Parasomnia’. “I try to make images that confuse me”, she says, “and I hope they confuse others, too.”

Griffelkunst 2001-2010


I like this book. It’s beautifully executed without falling into the trap of wanting to be stylish.

Arnold Schönberg


Beautiful edition of Schoenberg’s tight-knit piano oeuvre by typographer Günther Stiller.

Rietveld’s Chair


‘Rietveld’s Chair’ (NAi Publishers, 2012): ‘A book with a film by Lex Reitsma’. Enjoyed both, as well as the unobstrusive design.

Das Buch


The book as a concept: Klaus Scherübel’s object of an unpublished book by Mallarmé consists of nothing but a dustjacket.

Zehn Hoch


Eames, ‘Zehn Hoch’. The eccentric ragged left vs. right layout by Henri Wirthner works fine here and looks almost classical.

Notizen zum Kinematographen


On my nightstand: Bresson’s musings on cinema (which is of course just another field of design). At least there’s a French edition of the Bresson book by Gallimard – don’t know if it’s available in English.

Spielplatz und Gemeinschaftszentrum


‘Public space’ sounds like a promise from a time when man was a participant rather than a spectator in the growth of a city. Most contemporary graphic design seems solely rhetorical. I wish we could reestablish a meaningful non-artsy discourse on important questions of our profession.

Jan Tschichold


Not exactly a book, but a publication I love: Typografische Monatsblätter 4/1972 on Jan Tschichold.



This book by Daphne Geismar (published 2010) is a gem. Beautifully designed and produced. Only the binding could have been better, without PUR.

Das dtv-Taschenbuch und die Akzidenz-Grotesk


Back when publishers had a recognisable house-style: Celestino Piatti for dtv, using Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk. 

What Will Be Has Always Been


The Words of Louis I. Kahn (published 1986): an inspiring book with a beautiful cover, designed by Richard Saul Wurman. Gathers Kahn’s speeches, writings, interviews and journal entries and shares the reminiscences of fellow architects.

Projet pour un livre. Projet pour un film.


Nico Dockx published this catalogue on Broodthaers with blacked out images due to unresolved copyright issues in 2009. 

German Ephemerides


When our future was written in the stars and typesetting was hard work: ‘German Ephemerides, 1951-1960 (midnight)’. 


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The marvellous English bible of modernism (An International Survey of Constructive Art, published 1937). Writings from Corbusier to Neutra, from Mondrian to Tschichold.

Des Kaisers Kulis


John Heartfield had this wonderful idea of using the spine as a teaser to the book in 1930 (Malik Verlag, Berlin).

No Photographing


Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image: Timm Rautert’s beautiful Amish and Hutterite photos, finally published in 2011. 



A book I love a lot (apart from its dust jacket, which I removed): ‘Vinyl Records and Covers By Artists’. 

Some Trifles Which Make for Perfection


‘Some Trifles Which Make for Perfection’: Carl Purington Rollins’s discourse on details in typography (‘A Brief Discourse on the Details of Setting-up of Footnotes, Bibliographies, and Indexes – Applicable to Any Kind of Type and Any Size of Book’, published in 1949).

Saul Bass


Published by Laurence King in 2011. Jennifer’s book on her father Saul Bass is one of the few must-have graphic design publications. Love it. 

Koerners Werke


Großherzog Wilhelm Ernst Edition (‘Koerners Werke’, published in 1906): a most ergonomic reading tool with a pleasant tactile sensation. Titles drawn by Eric Gill. 

Italo Modern


Beautiful (but strange) architecture in a strange (but beautiful) book, designed by Willi Schmid, Vienna. 

The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading


“All animals download, but only a few upload anything besides shit and their own bodies.” Interesting book but ugh! Ugliest fast-food binding ever: Read and dispose. 

Selbstdenker und Systemdenker


A new book by Karl Heinz Bohrer: ‘Selbstdenker und Systemdenker’. ‘Confessions of an Independent Thinker’. 

Art and Plastics


The book as sculpture: ‘AG Fronzoni – Art and Plastics’, 1975. Not only is the container awesome, so is the book.

Paul Otlet


A book by Le Corbusier I found in a film: ‘The Man Who Wanted to Classify the World’ – Paul Otlet.

How to Use Your Eyes


Not so beauftiful in terms of design, but for the ravishing stories it unfolds. 

Morton Feldman – Essays


Definitely one of the brightest minds in 20th century music. Feldman’s essays are seminal texts. Here is an interview with Morton Feldman in German.

Josef Koudelka – Roma


Only Steidl knows how to catch up with gravure printing. Impressive! Read this article in the German newspaper ‘TAZ’.

Das Watt


Alfred Ehrhardt: ‘Das Watt’. Outstandingly well printed in sheet fed gravure printing, published by Ellermann, 1937.

The Philosophical Palace


Gerd Fleischmann designed this book on James Lee Byars in 1986. Still one of my favourites and one of his best.

The Internet and Everyone


I always come back to this wonderful small thick book by John Chris Jones: ‘The Internet and Everyone’. A must-read.

Walter Niedermayr – Appearances


What makes this Mevis & Van Deursen book on Walter Niedermayr spectacular is how unspectacular it is.

Armand Schulthess


The most beautiful book Elektrosmog ever made: awesome materiality, erotic tactile sensation. Feel it, pictures won’t tell you the whole story.

Steve Jobs


Conspiracy! The last page of ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson, German edition.

Schweizer Fotobücher


Way too heavy to read in bed, nonetheless beautifully executed, as is nearly everything from @LarsMullerBooks.

Apollo Amerika


Finest Fluxus: Kriwet’s ‘Apollo Amerika’, published in 1969 by Edition Suhrkamp – a typographer’s delight. If you are looking for a copy you may find one available here.

Guy de Cointet


Striking little book by Gavillet & Rust @optimofoundry on Guy de Cointet – a strange but fascinating artist.

Das befremdliche Überleben des Neoliberalismus


“But what do we do when the assertion of national citizenship rights becomes our only defence against the power of trans-national corporations to disrupt our lives?” A must-read. 

Metabolism Talks


Usually I don’t like Irma Boom’s flamboyant design, but here it works: ‘Project Japan – Metabolism Talks’ (published 2011).

Kultur Digital

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Last Week at Frankfurt Book Fair 2011, Part 7: “Finale” with a beautiful book designed by Glashaus – Gregor Huber and Ivan Sterzinger. The digital revels in the analogue. Form and content coalesce in an exciting compendium. This design has thoroughly analogue qualities – ergonomic typography, fine-grained materials, judicious use of a vocabulary well under control. Unfortunately the PUR binding makes the book difficult to open. An almost perfect book.

Colored Waters


Last Week at Frankfurt Book Fair 2011, Part 6: The most sensual experience: ‘Cécile Wick – Colored Waters’ – a tactile delight. 

Maurizio Cattelan


Last Week at Frankfurt Book Fair 2011, Part 5: A beautiful ‘bible’ for Maurizio Cattelan’s installation @Guggenheim.

Ernst Schurtenberger


Last Week at Frankfurt Book Fair 2011, Part 4: ‘Ernst Schurtenberger 1931 – 2006’, published by Scheidegger & Spiess. Not sure if this binding works. Nice idea and book anyway. 



Last Week at Frankfurt Book Fair 2011, Part 3: ‘Videogramme’, published by Scheidegger & Spiess. Look at the spine. The bookbinder’s precision scares me. 

Atlas Transformace


Last Week at Frankfurt Book Fair 2011, Part 2: ‘Atlas Transformace’. Stunning. English edition available!

Typografins Väg


Last week at Frankfurt Book Fair 2011, Part 1: Marcus Gärde, ‘Typografins Väg, Volym I, II: en guide för morgondagens typografer’ (a guide for tomorrow’s typographers).