Emil Ruder’s Typographie

Emil Ruder's Typographie
14/03/08 – Excerpts from Emil Ruder’s Typographie first published 1967:


There are two essential aspects to the work of the typographer: he must take into account knowledge already acquired and keep his mind receptive to novelty. (5)

There must be no letting up in the determination to produce vital work reflecting the spirit of the times; doubt and perturbation are good antidotes against the tendency to follow the line of least resistance. (ibid.)

It is the intention of this book to bring home to the typographer that perhaps it is precisely the restrictions of the means at his disposal and the practical aims he has to fulfill that make the charm of his craft. (ibid.)

Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty. A printed work which cannot be read becomes a product without purpose. (6)

He [i.e., the typographer] is not free to make his own independent decisions; he must depend on what went beforehand and take into account what is to come. (8)

But the typographer does possess this ability to stand back from the work, and it is very useful to him in his craft since critical distance is a virtue in a typographer. The typographer must be able to take the impersonal view; wilful individuality and emotion have little place in this work. (ibid.)

The many active contacts between people from every country today leave no scope for type faces with a pronounced national character. (10)

The craft of the typographer, like any other, necessarily reflects the times. The age gives him the means with which to satisfy the needs the age creates. (12)

The creative worker, on the other hand, spares little thought for contemporary style, for he realizes that style is not somethign that can be deliberately created; it comes all unawares! (ibid.)

More than graphic design, typography is an expression of technology, precision and good order. (14) (more…)

Oliver Tomas

  • Design historian and archivist based in Vancouver, Canada.
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