Compendium for literates: a system of writing
Karl Gerstner is one of Switzerland's-and therefore the world's-best and best-known graphic and typographic designers. His high ambition in this book, first published in German in 1972, is to provide a complete and systematic taxonomy of writing, a programmed investigation into the underlying structure of script and type; Gerstner writes that his book is meant to "encompass the aspects and possibilities of the alphabet in their totality." It is this systematic and programmatic approach that sets the book apart. Most studies of typography and its larger graphic setting and context are concerned with the history of the development of writing and printing, or are collections of typographic models or typical examples, or are textbooks on layout and design. This one is organized into five sections that take up, in turn, Script and Speech-the relation between writing and language, different alphabets, reading directions (the eye follows directions and moves in a direction), style; Manual Graphics or craft-materials, tools, methods, procedures, reproductive techniques; Images-letter pictures, word pictures, sentence pictures, handwriting, size, proportion, type weight, form, harmony, texture, brightness, color; Function-as effected through dimensioning, spacing, grouping, layout, integration; and Expression-as achieved through coordination, articulation, emphasis, diversion, and the spirit of play. As a physical object, the book is more than a passive repository of examples of typographic display. It makes a dynamic and integrated typographic statement of its own and as a whole as it progresses and develops in accordance with its internal program. The book is nearly square and opens vertically rather than horizontally. Type is printed on only one side of the sheets, which are folded back on themselves along the outer edge to form double leaves, so that there is no distracting show-through "noise." There are words printed in blind embossing and stencil cutouts. And color is used with an elegant restraint, appearing only at the book's mid-section climax-its very sparseness amid the prevailing sharp black and white contributes a luxurious effect.
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13th century 33 Composition picture a,is Alsleben arrangement articulation automatic ballpoint pen Bauhaus black letter characters color combined Compendium components Composition picture 333 concepts Configuration consonants coordinate criteria derived display e,ample e,cept e,ists e,plain e,ploited e,ploration e,pressive resource e,ternal e,treme elements English Eric Gill Expression 53 Expression 58 play face Ferdinand de Saussure fi,ed figure function German glossy ground Gutenberg's horizontal important kind left to right legibility letter forms letter picture literates ma,imum Marshall McLuhan material matte McLuhan means ne,t neutral newspaper optical original palindromes parameter phonetic Pi Sheng point for typographers possible principle reader Roman Roman alphabet schreiben script serif setzen sound spaces specifically speech spoken language Stephane Mallarme style symmetry te,t te,ture thi3g timbre typeface typesetting underlining vertical visual vowels whereas Wilhelm Kamlah Wilhelm Ostwald Wilhelm von Humboldt Writing and language writing one word written