Jan Tschichold Asymmetric Typography
Printed 1967.
94 pages, some in colour.

English edition translated by Ruari McLean from Typographische Gestaltung , Basle, 1935

5.75 x 9 .1875 hardcover book bound in full cloth with 96 pages and 42 illustrations produced in a variety of spot-colors, including one fold-out. Ruari Mclean's translation of Tschichold's Typographische Gestaltung from 1935. A beautifully-produced book with many typographic examples from Jan Tschichold, El Lissitzky, Karel Teige, Wladislaw Strzeminski, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and js+Josef Albers.

Ruari McLean (from his TRUE TO TYPE, A TYPOGRAPHICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY): ";When he left Penguins in 1949, Jan Tschichold returned to Switzerland, but we kept in touch, and saw him and Edith on their occasional visits to London. No English translation of any of his books had yet appeared; I had translated his little book on how to draw layouts, Typografische Entwurfstechnik, 1932, of only 24 pages, because I thought it so useful, but had never found a publisher for it. (It was eventually published as How to Draw Layouts in a limited edition of 150 copies by Merchiston Publishing, of Napier University in Edinburgh, in 1991.) Now he asked me to translate his Typographische Gestaltung (Typographic Design) which had been published in Basle in 1935. It was a more measured and persuasive account of his views than his first and epoch-making Die neue Typographie of 1928. This proposed new translation was to be really a new edition: Jan wanted to omit some passages which he considered had been of interest only to Swiss and German readers, and he had also found several new and better illustrations. We called the new version Asymmetric Typography, and it was published, i.e. financed, not by a conventional publisher, but by a highly intelligent firm of typesetters in Toronto called Cooper & Beatty. The distribution was done in Britain by Faber & Faber and in USA by Reinhold. One of the Cooper & Beatty directors, W.E. Trevitt, wrote a short introduction in which he said of Tschichold ‘He fascinates us. His seeming rejection of the ideas put forward in this present book caused a turbulence among designers that has yet to settle. How could he? And how could he then do those classical solutions so maddeningly well?… Among the campfires of typographers Typographische Gestaltung has become the great underground book of the century.’ His introduction ended ‘If you are asking yourself why it took four years to reach publication date, then you are obviously neither a practising typographer nor an expert in transoceanic correspondence. I now happen to be both for which I will remain eternally grateful.’ The book was published in 1967, and we were eternally grateful to Cooper & Beatty. It was the first ever of Jan Tschichold’s books to be published in English, and the only one until the 1990s."

From The New Typography, trans. Ruari McLean (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1995) [first published in 1928]: "Working through a text according to these principles will usually result in a rhythm different from that of former symmetrical typography. Asymmetry is the rhythmic expression of functional design. In addition to being more logical, asymmetry has the advantage that its complete appearance is far more optically effective than symmetry."

"Hence the predominance of asymmetry in the New Typography. Not least, the liveliness of asymmetry is also an expression of our own movement and that of modern life; it is a symbol of the changing forms of life in general when asymmetrical movement in typography takes the place of symmetrical repose. This movement must not however degenerate into unrest or chaos. A striving for order can, and must, also be expressed in asymmetrical form. It is the only way to make a better, more natural order possible, as opposed to symmetrical from which does not draw its laws from within itself but from outside."

Great little book. In my opinion it has more relevant information for the typographer than his first book ' The New Typography', the content is more matured.
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