Linotype sponsors avant-garde book project – August 22, 2005

A feast for the eyes: “trytype – experiments in typography”

Bad Homburg, August 22nd, 2005. Is it possible for typography to be art as Kurt Schwitters famously proclaimed in his “Thesis on Typography”? Design Professor Guido Ludes at the University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden invited his students to try just that. The results can be seen in an exquisitely designed book, aptly titled “trytype – experiments in typography”. Instead of subordinating typefaces to a mere vehicle for words, students in Prof. Ludes’ Department of Artistic Graphics approached type as a raw material for artistic experimentation.

At first immersing themselves in history, the students were encouraged to build on and then break with tradition. Working with a wide selection of fonts kindly provided by Linotype Library, the creative scope of the artwork produced was immense, from surrealistic architecture and reinterpretations of 20th century artists to stylized depictions of cowboys, insects and birds. In most cases, only a trained eye can recognize an alphabetic context as the source. 150 pages of pure inspiration – literally. Right from page one readers are invited to pull out a pair of scissors and followed the advice of “do it yourself”.

The setting for the premiere of the book could not have been more fitting: across the Rhine river from Wiesbaden in the Gutenberg Museum Mainz. In the auditorium of the museum, flanked on either side by mutations of the letter “g” through the centuries, Professor Guido Ludes explains that it was actually here, at one of typography’s most important educational sites in Germany, where their work began. The students in the project group took a field trip to the Gutenberg Museum’s print shop to experience firsthand the results of classic collage and décollage techniques. The goal was to lay a solid historic foundation before the deconstruction work on the computer began – making a point to not rely on filter-supported software tricks, but to embark on a slow and inquisitive exploration into the form and essence of typography itself.

Co-author and project coordinator Stefanie Weber sees their work in an historic perspective as well, drawing references to the European movement of Futurism at the turn of last century. The founder of Futurism, Italian writer and editor Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, provocatively argued in 1909 for the creation of innovative art that would do justice to the demands of modern, technological and dynamic life – boldly breaking with the static ideals of the past. The trytype project thereby built on the combined experiences of many decades of experimentation, from Futurism and Dadaism to Fluxus and New Wave, but also took advantage of today’s unique opportunities thanks to continuing great strides in technology.

Art is indisputably an important source of inspiration for designers. Prof. Ludes also sees the hardcover book as a positive statement for type design in general ”boldly defying the ‘end’ of typography which cultural pessimists have been prophesying since the invention of the computer.” Whether done by hand or with the help of virtual copy and paste functions, experimenting with typography is certainly a profound way to learn about type characters in a wider context – not only with respect to functionality. Most of all, as the new book “trytype – experiments in typography” proves, by exploring the outer limits of type use and design, typography can reach exhilarating new aesthetic and artistic heights. The book is part of the Mergenthaler Edition by Linotype. For further information , please turn to the Linotype website at www.linotype.com. The ISBN number is: ISBN 3-9810-319-1-1.


The project team

Trytype project team

From left to right: Prof. Guido Ludes, Dipl. Designer Steffi Weber (Project Assistant/Creative Direction), Students Philipp Pieroth, Linda Künzel, Tina Clemenz and Otmar Hoefer (Linotype)


Linotype GmbH, based in Bad Homburg, Germany and a member of the Heidelberg Group, looks back onto a history of 119 years. Building on its strong heritage, Linotype Library develops state-of-the-art font technology and offers more than 6,000 original fonts, covering the whole typographic spectrum from antique to modern, from east to west, and from classical to experimental. All typefaces (in PostScript™ and TrueType™ format as well as 2,300 fonts in OpenType™ for Mac and Windows) are now also available for instant download at www.linotype.com. In addition to supplying digital fonts, Linotype Library also offers comprehensive and individual consultation and support services for font applications in worldwide (corporate) communication.

If you would like further information, please contact:

Linotype GmbH
Du-Pont-Straße 1
61352 Bad Homburg
Tel.: +49 (0) 61 72 - 484 - 24 60
Fax: +49 (0) 61 72 – 484 - 5 24 60
E-Mail: info@linotype.com
This press release is available as pdf file. Please download:
English version (124 kb)
German version (124 kb)

English rtf version (152 kb)
English rtf version (824 kb)