Herbert Spencer [Editor]
London: Lund Humphries
(May 1963. First edition [New Series].
8.25 x 10.75 inches
magazine with 78 pages printed on a variety of paper stocks.
Reproduction techniques for this issue include letterpress and offset-lithography.
Paper stocks include matte and uncoated.
Spencer’s legendary experimental typographic journal is covered by multiple constituencies since Spencer vocally championed emerging trends such as Concrete Poetry, Semiotics and avant-garde Book Design.
- Thirty-six typographers : biographical notes
- Piet Zwart by Herbert Spencer
- Design underfoot by Anthony Robinson
- Printed Ephemera rewieved by Nicolete Gray
- Thematic photography by Euan Duff
- Education and the child by R. B. Lendon
- This is my private world… by Jane Gate
- The Great Experiment reviewed by Jay Leyda
Typographica was the brainchild of founder, editor, designer and renowned typographer Herbert Spencer, and had a brief life, totalling 32 issues published between 1949 and 1967. But its influence stretched and stretches far beyond its modest distribution and print runs of the time. For many graphic designers, Typographica is something of an obsession, to be collected if and when found, savored, and poured over for designs, and techniques not seen since.
Spencer never intended to turn a profit, so no expenses were spared in production (just like Alexey Brodovitch’s Portfolio). Different papers, letterpress, tip-ins, and more were all employed in the presentation of an eclectic range of subject matter: Braille, locomotive lettering, sex and typography, typewriter faces, street lettering, matches, and avant-garde poetry all found their way into the magazine.
Urbane, prolific and unfailingly modest, Spencer was a reformer dedicated to improving standards of design in a field dominated by the printing industry’s outdated conventions. But he was also an aesthete with a connoisseur’s eye for the wild modernist innovations with letterforms and layout of the 1920s. Spencer launched the seminal publication, Typographica, in 1949, when he was 25, and edited, designed and sometimes wrote for it for 18 years. Equally at home publishing one of the first articles in Britain about concrete poetry (then an international phenomenon), or an illustrated study of the design challenges presented by Braille, he was a new kind of designer-editor, able to think both visually and verbally, and to fuse images and words in meaningful new relationships.