Helmuth Lethen, IFK
Katalog der Unordnung
20 Jahre IFK
Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften an der Kunstuniversität Linz, Linz
Designer: Christoph Schörkhuber, Linz
Printer: Grasl Fairprint, Bad Vöslau
Rather than “catalogue of disorder”, as its title might be translated, this book could just as well have been called “catalogue of order”. For this it is indebted to its ironic borrowing of classic Swiss typography with which the macro-structure of this Austrian book is organised. Sans-serif typefaces, its confinement to just three font sizes, an anaxial type-area with margin, a top margin with generous white space and vibrant page headings, detailed contents pages with forewords on grey card.
Yet some things are nevertheless surprising. The book’s components are constantly re-sorted in the multiple table of contents. Not until the fifth list does one reach what one would normally expect by way of summary of contents, here consistently bearing the heading: page numbers. Within the book’s interior the columns are not fixed, exchanging places with the margin as required.
But what really stands out is the typeface. With hot lead typesetting it would sometimes happen that a character from another typeface would smuggle its way into the line of print. In printer’s jargon this was then known as a “printer’s pie”. Here the typesetting is made up exclusively of such printer’s pies, with eight different sans-serif typefaces being wildly jumbled together. And, surprisingly, this apogee of typographical chaos engenders a pleasantly shimmering appearance. Order or disorder is a matter of the perspective from which one regards the complexity of the given circumstances.
Lisa Maria Matzi
Schwarze Hunde & Bunte Schafe
Designer: Lisa Maria Matzi, Wien
Printer: Höhere Graphische BLVA, Wien
In this diploma dissertation the author and book designer – one and the same person – presents her family. Starting with the unorthodox shared living arrangements of her parents there unfolds a congenial panoply, introduced with great candour, wit and subjective self-distancing. The unconventionality with which the family members make their appearance in various episodes and quotes matches that of the presentation of texts and images on each page of the book. For this the designation of a new genre might even be conceivable: amusing typography.
Without any hint of drama the reader is made acquainted with various absurdities and quirks, and the author’s handling of typography is no less light-footed. Quotes seemingly taken out of context are related by a subliminal typographical coherence, and cross-references and diagrams act as a sober means of increasing the comic effect. Using traditional book materials and with fine finish of printing and binding it serves as a personal monument to a fleeting piece of family theatre.
Just as the boundaries of everyday life are dissolved, so are those of the book’s pages. It is wonderful to read and to see just how true to life Dadaistic energy can still be today.