Jan Tschichold (1902-1974)
Tschichold is the best known publicist and practitioner of the 'new typography' that developed in Europe between the wars. Born in Leipzig to a sign-writer father, his first interest was in antiquarian lettering. In 1923, after his first exposure to the Bauhaus, Tschichold changed his style completely. At the Bauhaus, classical form was to be abandoned and the structure and function of everything was to be rethought. Tschichold was hooked. For a while, he even Russianised his name to Ivan to identify himself more closely with the Left. He began to promote aggressively the new typography in printing trade journals and a series of practical manuals.
The 'new typography' was strongly in favour of asymmetry and bold sans serif typefaces. He was condemned by the Nazis for creating unGerman typography and accused of 'Kulturbolschevismus', and was arrested and interned for a while. He took refuge in Switzerland in 1935. While in Switzerland he published 'Asymmetric Typography' where he uncompromisingly advocated the new typography. True to character, he performed a volte face in the 1940s and came to the conclusion that the 'new typography' was inherently Fascist. His later typefaces were in a new classical style. He designed only one widely used typeface - Sabon. In England, he is best known for his redesign of Penguin books in 1946.
"There can be neither a genuinely new, nor a 'reactionary' typography, but only good or bad typography."
[NOM, photo Wikipedia]