Last night I was going through my groups on flickr and I found Berlintypes by mere chance. I was immediately drawn by his huge collection of classic Swiss Design prints; very clean. Above is a Foundry Type Specimen Book post WW2. I love the worn out look.
After WW2 the richness of the foundry specimens yielded to a more minimalistic not to say sparse specimen presentation. Shortage of paper, in fact shortage of everything made pompous presentations financially as well as morally look inappropriate. It’s just since the digital revolution in graphic design took place (beginning ~ 70ies) that specimen books first grew fatter and later became visually more opulent, which brings us full circle at least to the height of letterpress printing (and less obvious: in a second turn of the circle to the height of incunabula design!).
Where I found most of the jaw-dropping designs was in Berlintypes set called Type Mags: Typografische Monatsblätter. The placement of composition elements and type is almost near perfect paying close attention to micro-aesthetics and achieving successful macro-aesthetics. Each design stays true to a grid system too. Berlintypes has a huge collection on flickr but these are just a few of my favorites. I arranged the images from 1952-1989, top to bottom. I am going to do more research because I would like to see if their current issues are as beautifully designed as the ones shown here.
“Typografische Monatsblätter” is a Swiss business magazine, dealing with questions of printing and typography. Its frequency was monthly formerly (hence the name!) and it is still in print up to date – now on a bimonthly basis. “Typografische Monatsblätter” were founded 1933. Since 1952 they are published together with “Schweizer Grafische Mitteilungen” and “Revue Suisse de l’Imprimerie”. TM discusses questions of the developping printing technology, also – and for designers all over the world even more interesting: Swiss designers and especially Swiss type designers were regularly writing in this magazine. The famous type-criticisms of Max Caflisch were released here, Jan Tschichold or Adrian Frutiger were repeatedly writing for TM. Best known Swiss designers were contributing for decades: Wolfgang Weingart, Jost Hochuli, Helmut Schmidt, Hans Rudolf Lutz, Emil Ruder – just to name a few.
Check out more from Berlintypes’ Collection on Flickr.