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Shillington Book Club: My Way to Typography by Wolfgang Weingart 

Sarah McHugh, UK Director

My Way to Typography
Author/Publisher: Wolfgang Weingart 

I love typography and I experimented a lot with print techniques and type throughout my career, I have always been inspired by Wolfgang Weingart, his work had a massive impact on me when I was studying.

“What still surprises and Inspires me today: To turn Blank Paper into a Printed Page.”

This book documents an overview of Weingart’s work from the past forty years and gives an insights into his thinking and influences.

Weingart started his design career completing a three-year typesetting apprenticeship in Stuttgart in May, 1960. By this time typography in Switzerland had earned worldwide prominence. As he learned to master the techniques of letterpress printing, his work with typography became more experimental. It started with letter and type elements composed in a circular ring, the Round Compositions. This composition came about as a result of an accident – where he dropped a type drawer on the floor. It was filled with the small type—six point, semi-bold, Berthold Akzidence Grotesk. During the two day lengthy process of putting each character back he had a strange idea-to fill a cardboard ring with the type standing on end, letter surface positioned upwards, until it was packed solid. Creating a surface to be printed rather than individual characters. This was a technique that he would revisit throughout his career.

Another of his projects that sticks in my mind is centred around the ‘Letter M’. A year long project using the ‘M’ from Adrian Frutiger’s Universe. For Weingart the letter M was “an arrow pointing to itself”. He explored new approaches to producing his work like photochemical reproduction. He enjoyed the “increased flexibility of mixing sizes, positions, and angles” and found “dynamic aspects of the letter’s form which would have been impossible to attain in wood or metal”.

As Weingart effectively put it, “The simpler the assignment, the more difficult the solution”. This book is an absolute must for Typography fans, every page shows something completely different and inspiring.

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