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Old 04-26-2006, 05:29 PM   #1
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Default Book: Homage to Helvetica

I finally received my copy of Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface, written, designed, and published by Lars Müller.

It is a fabulous little book (roughly 5 X 6.5 inches, an inch thick). It contains minimal text and hundreds of captured images of Helvetica in use — in print, on signs, in ads; in many languages — from all around the globe. There are small quotes scattered around the images but very little defense of the ubiquitous typeface. Maybe Helvetica’s ubiquity alone is the point.

From the back cover:
This book sings the praises of the shift worker and solo entertainer of typefaces, of its forgotten creator and all those who have contributed to its unparalleled international march of triumph over the past forty years. The designs gathered together here in honor of Helvetica have been created by superb designers and anonymous amateurs from all over the world. They present a unique panoply of this icon of modern design. Helvetica is not only the preferred typeface of leading professionals, it is also an all-time favorite among the multitude of codes and signals and commands that enliven urban life. Helvetica is the perfume of the city.
The book itself is junk; badly bound (my copy separated from the spine after half an hour of handling) and one of its not so cute features is that the buyer must cut all the pages by hand, as they were perforated but not trimmed. And it took forever to get — I ordered it three times, and the first two after weeks and weeks said they didn’t actually have it to sell. Finally I found this copy from a small dealer in NYC.)

But you know what? I am very glad to have it, and recommend it to anyone who loves, hates, or is equivocal about Helvetica. This book might change your mind.

The hardcover edition is out of print, but the publisher says a paperback is forthcoming.

I am attaching a spread (one of three) that shows a diverse collection of logos based on Helvetica, as well as a picture of the cover.
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