Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1930. 400 pp.: ill., 1 folding table, 3 ills. 24,5x17 cm. In original full-cloth with lettering on spine, emblems on the front cover and spine; in original illustrated, constructivist style dust jacket. Dust jacket chipped, with small fragments of spine lost, some pale water stains on lower edge and few ink stains, book very good and clean. One of 5000 copies.
Only Soviet translation of classic typesetting guide “Handbuch für Schriftsetzer” that was written by Friedrich Bauer. The translation was made by A. Derman. According to him, the translation “was
difficult to undertake because of different levels of printing and machinery in Germany and the USSR”. That’s why the translator had to rewrite or change some chapters, while some unused terms
were excluded from a dictionary.
The Soviet edition included supplementary chapters: “Typography In Advertising” by A. Itskov, “Contemporary Printed Cover Design” by L. Kaplan, “Mosaic” and “Poster, Leaflet and Sign” by N. Spirov. Kaplan elaborates on impressive early Soviet methods to build printed cover designs and shows them in small reproductions in text. According to him, authors of contemporary covers no longer used only different typefaces and sizes. They had lots of new methods to apply. “Each line or group of lines, when printed on paper, represents a spatial form, like a line in graphics or a plane
in architecture. Do not forget about the spaces, they highlight the text at a distance. A popular block grouping of lines is now built in two spots along an artificially created optical vertical line. A poetic grouping is used – in it each word forms an independent line. <...> Currently, we are seeing a rapid shift away from symmetrical covers in favor of contrasting elements. In such cases, half (or more) of the cover space can be allocated to the main word. In the latter case, the cover begins to resemble a poster”. As an example, Kaplan cites the book ‘In Defense of the Economic Plan’ (1930), where the huge and heavy word “plan” is balanced by a black rectangle (on the back cover) and empty blocks of spaces. The design features an optical vertical line and a line rotated 90 degrees. Also, Kaplan highlights an interesting, but not widely used approach of Vkhutein graduate, type designer B. Grozevsky. He alternated bold and light letters in one word to create color contrast. Thus, he gained the movement of color spots and the highlighting of the most important words.
Then, Kaplan shifts to contemporary approaches to produce cover frames. He starts with more engaging schemes for ordinary frames of borders and turns to artistic application of typographic tools: font, rulers, geometric shapes, dots, brackets, etc. This text is supplemented with two color reproductions printed on both sides of an insert. Cover design of the first, ‘‘Physics in War’ (1928) features repetition of the same character elements, built with lightning-like rulers and brackets on the front, back covers and spine. The principle of contrast is also applied here, dividing the frame on the front cover vertically in half using a solid color on the left and hatching on the right. Similar elements are introduced for the spine and back cover.
This particular copy contains a loosely inserted test imprint of the cover design ‘Physics in War’ that is the same with an illustration on the insert. The second color reproduction on the insert –
‘The East in Fiction Writing’ (1929) – features a decorative frame inheriting a national style. It is produced with math symbols – digit 0, asterisk, round and curly brackets, function, division slash – and ornamented borders. They were printed in black and red. Weight of all these elements makes the frame look like a border of East carpet.
Finally, Kaplan writes on decorative-symbolic cover design that a typesetter builds after reading a particular book. Thus they may create a kind of illustration of ordinary typographical tools. Among masters of this method, El Lissitzky, S. Telingater and N. Ilyin are named. Reproductions in text demonstrate some works by Ilyin. One of them is fully built of typographical borders and resembles
a woodcut illustration.
Other illustrations on separate leaves feature colorful advertising posters, among them Mayakovsky performance and MKhAT staging. A folding comparison table contains Continental, Fournier and American systems of typefaces.
Not found in Worldcat.