Typography: Typographer of the Week – Jan Tschihold


Reading about the life that Jan Tschihold dedicated to typography and graphic design has got me feeling all inspired, yet 100% worthless at the same time. How could one have devoted that much of his life to one passion? Thank God for him that his efforts had obviously paid off, seeing his impression left upon the world up till this day.


Perhaps what inspires me the most about Tschihold is his boldness when he came about a change of style after visiting that Bauhaus exhibition in 1924. Despite being so completely new to this experimentation of modernist type, he dove right in to producing works the direct opposite of what he believed in not too long ago. The fact that he persevered years without fear for his beliefs to become recognised and eventually made himself known through both appreciation AND hatred for going against the norm, shows the sort of confidence that any artist should have – although it could turn out overbearingly arrogant.


The next thing that really caught my attention was Tschihold’s method of approach towards creating a perfect page: Tschihold’s Secret Canon. Who would have thought, apart from the simple rules like rule of thirds and golden ratio, that so much math could be involved with graphic design? I would also have never imagined there being so much specific calculation involved in creating ‘aesthetic’ calculating up to fractions of 1/15, etc. Having been exposed to both news, feature and interactive magazine design back in polytechnic, Tschihold’s approach to perfect layouts has no doubt opened my mind to understand that there are always ways of doing things that you would never think of. 

Jan Tschihold is unquestionably someone to be respected for the impact that he has had on the world of typography/graphic design today. It’s interesting to see how SO much thought and process has gone through (like, years) what we have now come to see as very apparent ‘aesthetic’.


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