Johanna Drucker: Alphabetic Labyrinth: The Letters in History and Imagination (1995–) [EN, SR]

8 December 2019, dusan

“The alphabet is at once familiar and mysterious. Its letters have been the object of speculation since their invention almost four thousand years ago; the symbols represent sounds, yet they exist in their own right, often invested with quasi-magical power. Johanna Drucker, who teaches art history at Yale University, examines the imaginative and idiosyncratic ways in which the letters of the alphabet have been assigned value in political, spiritual, or religious belief systems over two millennia. The first book to explore fully this colorful, poetic, and frequently eccentric realm, The Alphabetic Labyrinth is richly complemented by images that have rarely or never before been reproduced. Drawing on a wide variety of little-known sources, both literary and artistic, the author adds a new and exciting chapter to the history of ideas which will prove fascinating to cultural historians, art historians, and anyone interested in the history of writing.”

Publisher Thames and Hudson, London, 1995
ISBN 0500016089, 9780500016084
315 pages

Reviews: Ellen Lupton (Eye, 1995), Cliff Pickover (Leonardo, 1999).

WorldCat

The Alphabetic Labyrinth (English, 1995, 18 MB)
Alfabetski lavirint (Serbian, trans. Branislav Kovačević, 2006)

Emigre, 11: Graphic Designers and the Macintosh Computer (1989)

28 December 2017, dusan

Emigre magazine’s eleventh issue, ‘Ambition/Fear: Graphic Designers and the Macintosh Computer’, contains vivid artifacts of a discipline’s first encounter with digital tools. From the aesthetics of bitmaps to the expressive interventions made possible by new access to typesetting controls, not to mention the self-publishing venture of the magazine itself, this issue combines modernist and postmodern agendas in a model construction of text-based community.”

Release of the digitized issue “coincides with the publication of “Inflection Point” a rigorously researched essay about Emigre #11 by writer/designer Emily McVarish. The essay takes a close look at Emigre #11, analyzing the technical, critical, and cultural production that would shape Emigre as a medium for typographic demonstration and discussion among peers.”

Design and production: Rudy VanderLans
Typeface designs: Zuzana Licko
Publisher Emigre Graphics, Berkeley, CA, 1989
32 pages, 11.25 x 16.75 in
via Letterform Archive

Commentary: Emily McVarnish (2017, 59 pp).

Publisher

PDF (23 MB)
JPG

Reading Design (2013–)

26 October 2017, dusan

“Reading Design is an online archive of critical writing about design. The idea is to embrace the whole of design, from architecture and urbanism to product, fashion, graphics and beyond. The texts featured here date from the nineteenth century right up to the present moment but each one contains something which remains relevant, surprising or interesting to us today.

Reading Design is not a magazine or a journal and many or most of the texts here will have been published before. They might be papers, transcriptions of lectures, articles, essays, academic texts, photo essays, sketches or blog posts but the aim is to collate these texts in one place to build a resource which we hope will become invaluable to designers, academics, researchers, professionals and all those with any interest in design at all. It is a library of design which we hope is able to use the enormous capacity of the internet in a way in which it is not currently being used.

Reading Design is a non-profit making venture aiming to make pivotal texts available to all and to provoke, delight, enlighten, inspire, inform and occasionally infuriate.”

Editor-in-chief: Edwin Heathcote
Associate editor: Krisztina Heathcote

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