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Helvetica: Homage to a Typeface Paperback – Illustrated, 20 Dec 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lars Muller Publishers; 2nd Revised edition edition (20 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3037780460
  • ISBN-13: 978-3037780466
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 2.5 x 16.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 541,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A declaration of love of a particular kind in a small but elegant format. No design library should be without it. --Novum

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First the mystery: just why was every alternate page in the book joined together? The reader has to carefully cut the perforations to be able to look at every page. I can't find any reference in the small amount of text about this. My conclusion is that the public use of the type is on the open pages and non-public (or designed) examples are on the perforation joined pages. At least you'll know if you buy a pre-used copy though.

Apart from the perforations I thought this was a handsome little book and homage in the title is very apt. Helvetica is probably the world's number one communication choice, it works just as well on a municipal sign or a new baby announcement. Before it gained a monopoly each nation seemed to have its own jobbing type, Franklin Gothic in America, Gill Sans in England or Antique Olive in France, for instance but the super clean lines of Helvetica (and computer typesetting) meant it was no contest for all the others.

The author mentions the uniqueness of Swiss design in the Fifties partly because the top designers always used the same typeface, the stunning Akzidenz Grotesk, which fitted into their rather austere but elegant graphic solutions even though it only had two weights, Medium and Bold. Who needs italic, extended, condensed, extra black and the other weights to communicate efficiently? The rest of the world for a start. From the late Fifties Swiss designed Helvetica spread across the globe and you'll see from the hundreds of examples in these pages some wonderful design solutions, especially the two hundred plus logos that use the face in all sorts of variations. As a typeface there are probably a few dozen Helvetica weights now available.
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By Nicki on 6 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this is a great book, which examples of Helvetica worldwide, people should be made aware that this is a very small book (a6) and mostly full of pictures. There are quotes throughout supporting Helvetica, and is good for any typography lovers out there, but as a resource for more information it is incredibly limited. For the price though, brilliant. And fast delivery.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
It's no Akzidenz 19 Jan. 2006
By Robin Benson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
First the mystery: just why was every alternate page in the book joined together? The reader has to carefully cut the perforations to be able to look at every page. I can't find any reference in the small amount of text about this. My conclusion is that the public use of the type is on the open pages and non-public (or designed) examples are on the perforation joined pages. At least you'll know if you buy a pre-used copy though.

Apart from the perforations I thought this was a handsome little book and homage in the title is very apt. Helvetica is probably the world's number one communication choice, it works just as well on a municipal sign or a new baby announcement. Before it gained a monopoly each nation seemed to have its own jobbing type, Franklin Gothic in America, Gill Sans in England or Antique Olive in France, for instance but the super clean lines of Helvetica (and computer typesetting) meant it was no contest for all the others.

The author mentions the uniqueness of Swiss design in the Fifties partly because the top designers always used the same typeface, the stunning Akzidenz Grotesk, which fitted into their rather austere but elegant graphic solutions even though it only had two weights, Medium and Bold. Who needs italic, extended, condensed, extra black and the other weights to communicate efficiently? The rest of the world for a start. From the late Fifties Swiss designed Helvetica spread across the globe and you'll see from the hundreds of examples in these pages some wonderful design solutions, especially the two hundred plus logos that use the face in all sorts of variations. As a typeface there are probably a few dozen Helvetica weights now available. Incidentally, the author suggests that Arial, the default type used on Outlook Express for most emails is a digital Helvetica, close but no cigar! The most obvious differences are the cap G and the lower case s and t.

'Homage to a typeface' is a lovely book that'll interest most typographers and anyone who is curious about a lettering style that seems to be everywhere.

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful book, unforgivable, shoddy binding 18 Sept. 2004
By Leesa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'll start by saying that this is a lovely tribute to the most invisible, versatile and ubiquitous font. It is a full bled chunk of photography and unintentional wit.

Buuuttt....

The binding is absolutely horrendous. I'm not referring to the imaginative use of perforation, either. The binding completely fell apart after flipping through it once. The pages are not folded and stitched and only held in with apparently inadequate adhesive. I am now the proud owner of a nice stack of loose paper.

Due to the fact that the reader is expected to separate the perforated edges- the book becomes non-refundable.

So, although I wish I could recommend this little book due to content I strongly advise that you not purchase it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
How can you review a book if you haven't even seen it. 16 July 2003
By "jameskevstone" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
... Great book... in a lovely format... shows how many different guises Helvetica can give. Love the hidden perforated sections too. A book you'll pick up time and time again ...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
neat little book. handle with care. 18 April 2005
By Nicholas Findley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It's about what you'd expect. I feel like I got my $20 worth, but as mentioned, it's gonna fall apart before you're halfway into the book. I think if I would have heeded the warnings it may have gone a little farther. Your mileage may vary.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Watch the movie instead 17 Oct. 2007
By S. Joswick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This makes for a good coffee table book, or perhaps bathroom reading, but as a graphic design reference it falls short. Basically just a picture book. The first half is a compendium of various samples of graphic design, some of them really wonderful, all using Helvetica. The second half is a photographic essay showing the font used in the public domain throughout the world. It would have been nice to include some essays from leading writers in the design world on the history of the font, or it's influence, both good and bad, in the visual vernacular. I was inspired to buy it after seeing the film "Helvetica," and found that film to be a much more rewarding experience.
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