C:\Documents and Settings\admin\My Documents EMIL RUDER: BiOgRaPhY oF EmiL rUDeR

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


Blogger fleuriperi said...

interesting :)

8:49 am


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