C:\Documents and Settings\admin\My Documents EMIL RUDER: February 2006

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


BiOgRaPhY oF EmiL rUDeR

Swiss typographer (b. Zürich 1914, d. Basel, 1970), and type guru in the 50s and 60s. Taught at the Basel School of Design (Kunstgewerbeschule), and founded the International Center for the Typographic Arts in New York, 1962. Author of Typographie: Ein Gestaltungslehrbuch - A Manual of Design - Un Manuel de Creation (Teufen: Niggli, 1967), and Typographie. Ein Gestaltungslehrbuch. Mit über 500 Beispielen (7th edition in 2001, Niggli). The Road to Basel (Helmut Schmid) is an homage to Emil Ruder by Helmut Schmid, one of Ruders students, who headed a group of other ex-students and organized their contributions. The former students who participated are Harry Boller, Roy Cole, Heini Fleischhacker, Fritz Gottschalk, André Gürtler, Hans-Jürg Hunziker, Hans-Rudolf Lutz, Fridolin Müller, Marcel Nebel, Åke Nilsson, Bruno Pfäffli, Will van Sambeek, Helmut Schmid, Peter Teubner, Wolfgang Weingart, and Yves Zimmermann. Karl Gerstner and Kurt Hauert also contributed. Paul Shaw reviews this book and Ruder's contributions. Quotes from Shaw's piece:
It is clear that those lucky enough to study under Ruder found him as exciting and demanding as they had expected. With a few exceptions these former students quickly and permanently fell under the sway of the charismatic and ambitious Ruder.
Ruder promised a new functionalism derived from the Bauhaus. His was a new approach to typography that went beyond the technical fundamentals of metal type composition to embrace modern art (especially that of Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian). Ruder focused on the point, the line, the plane, and the way in which typography activated space. His article Die Flache (the plane or the space), following lessons he had learned from The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura and from modern art, stressed the activation and destruction of space as the goal of typography as well as of art and architecture.
Ruders typography is defined by asymmetry and an emphasis on counter, shape, and negative space.
Harry Boller writes that Ruder and his students were Puritans on a mission, serious, humorless. We had been led to a morality, and strong convictions remain. Banality, lack of imagination, and swiping of ideas were all ridiculed, while sincerity of expression was encouraged. Gottschalk says that Ruder taught courtesy, ethics, and modesty as much as he taught typography.
Swiss teacher of typography, set up the Typography class at the Basle School of Design; friend and influence of
Adrian Frutiger. Ruder was a frequent contributor to the respected trade journal, Typografische Monatsblätter. He co-founded the International Center for the Typographic Arts in New York, 1962.
Emil Ruder (1914 - 1970) was, together with
Armin Hofmann, one of the founding fathers of the so-called Basel School. He was hired in 1942 by the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule of the swiss city of Basel to teach typography to typesetter and printer apprentices, and was joined in 1948 by lithographer Armin Hofmann.
The two quickly extend their courses and gained an international reputation, peaking in an advanced class for visual communication in 1968. Already before that time, the school attracted talented students from all over the world and could be rather picky in whom it accepted. Some students of Ruder had to wait up to three years to get in, as he took only two or three students each year.
Helmut Schmid, a graphic designer now working in Osaka, was one of them. He has asked his former classmates to recount what brought them to Basel to study typography, and collected their short essays in this book. To write of one's journey and its motives is a very personal matter, as one of them, Andre Guertler, remarks, and so this is an intimate book, funny and sad as life itself. Above all, it shows the profound admiration of Ruder's students for their master's personality and character.
It is also a source on Emil Ruder's teaching methods and design philosophy. Asymmetry as a concept was important to him, and he saw support for it's universal validity in japanese texts on Zen philosophy and the art of drinking tea. On this idea, he apparently differed from Jan Tschichold, who was also working in Basel at that time, as typographer for the pharmaceutical company La Roche. Ruder's student Ake Nilsson recounts somewhat perplexed that "In Ruder's drawer were examples of poor work from, among others, Jan Tschichold, who was held in high esteem in Sweden". Wolfgang Weingart, another Ruder student from 1964 onwards and one of todays typography greats, tells us how he was almost expelled from the school for his "destructive attitude". Exciting times indeed for typography in Basic

abOuT 1960's TyPoGrApHY...

The decade of the 60s began as a period of post WWII economic strength and expantion for American industry. The gross national product had never been higher, and American factories were supplying goods for the recovering European countries. The U.S was the dominant manufacturing force in the world. The baby boomer generation was coming of edge, and took society buy storm as beatniks, hippies, and the flower children toward the end of the decade. Some of a generation was anti-establishment and politically active in demonstrations. The Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement preoccupied some of the college-aged population. John F.Kennedy succeeded Eisenhower in the White House, and the Washingtonian era of Camelot began. America was prosperous, confortable, and middle-class consumers.

Type design in the 60s borrowed much from the taste of Pop Art or Psychedelic Art. Neon colours were new and were often used with virtually unreadable results (of course, the image did burn into your retina, producing a close-eye, after-image). Hand lettering was employed on posters to make the letters swirl and curve into each other with dizzying effects. The overall impact of the posters was likely inspired by the then-popular psychedelic drugs. This phase is sometimes compared to the Art Nouuveau style of organic lettering taken to the extreme. Legibility was no longer at issue-observers were challenged to figure out the message of a rock poster.

ARt wOrK...


Details: A new hard-bound reprinting of the original edition of Emil Ruder's classic. The books 19 chapters (Introduction, Writing and Printing, Function and form, Form and counter-form, The techniques of typography, Arrangements, Geometrica l- optical and organic aspects, Proportions, Point - line - surface, Contrasts, Shades of grey, Colour, Unity of text and form, Rhythm, Spontaneity and fortuity, Integral design, Variations, Kinetics, Lettering and illustration) are laid down simply and packed with wisdom applicable today. Emil is considered by many to be the father of typography as we know it today. A huge influence in our work. This book is the bequest of a great typographer for the cultural heritage of our day. In the post-war years, when in nearly every field of applied art there were still no signs whatsoever of a shift to a new, more contemporary form of expression, Emil Ruder was one of the first pioneers to abandon the conventional rules of tradional typography and create new laws that satisfied the requirements of a new typography. This book, which has seen six editions up until today and is a fundamental, new textbook, upon which generations of typographers and graphic designers have built and can continue to grow upon. This book can clearly be seen as an excellent manual. Besides that, it is a comprehensive masterpiece seen in its overall structure, in the themes presentted, in the comparison of similarities and contrasts in the richness of the illustrations and the harmoniously inserted typographic types. Behind the purely pedagogic examples of exact proportions, a rich, philosophical thinking shines through, which-moving far beyond the tasks of everyday
existence-attempts to expound upon the lessons of life's wisdom.

Emil Ruder's Typography is the timeless textbook from which generations of typographer and graphic designers have learned their fundamentals. Ruder, one of the great twentieth-century typographers was a pioneer who abandoned the conventional rules of his discipline and replaced them with new rules that satisfied the requirements of his new typography. Now in its sixth printing, this book has a hallowed place on the bookshelves of both students and accomplished designers. Dimension: 83/4 x 11 inches, over 500 examples, English, German & French text.

"Typography has one plain duty before it, and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty. A printed work which cannot be read becomes a product without a purpose."emil ruder

Based on the design advances of the ‘30s, a new graphic design style emerged in the ‘50s that would have an impact far beyond Switzerland’s borders. Because of its strong reliance on typographic elements, the new style came to be known as the International Typographic Style. It became the predominant graphic design style in the world in the ‘70s, and continues to exert its influence today.
Its hallmarks were: the use of a mathematical grid to provide an overall orderly and unified structure; sans serif typefaces (especially Helvetica, introduced in 1961) in a flush left and ragged right format; and black and white photography in place of drawn illustration. The overall impression is simple and rational, tightly structured and serious, clear and objective, and harmonious. The style was refined at two design schools in Switzerland, one in Basel led by Armin Hofmann and Emil Ruder, and the other in Zurich under the leadership of Joseph Muller-Brockmann. All had studied with Keller at the Zurich school of design before WWII.
The new style became widely synonymous with the "look" of many Swiss cultural institutions which used posters as advertising vehicles. Hofmann’s series for the Basel State Theater and Muller-Brockmann’s for Zurich’s Tonhalle are two of the most famous. Hofmann’s accentuation of contrasts between various design elements and Muller-Brockmann’s exploration of rhythm and tempo in visual form are high notes in the evolution of the style.
In addition, the new style was perfectly suited to the increasingly global postwar marketplace. The Swiss language problem became a world-wide problem, and there was a strong need for clarity in word and symbol. Corporations needed international identification, and global events such as the Olympics called for universal solutions which the Typographic Style could provide. With such good teachers and proselytizers, the use of the International Typographic Style spread rapidly throughout the world. In the US, Hofmann’s Basel design school established a link with the Yale School of Design, which became the leading American center for the new style.

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