Book Lovers Favourite Covers – Jens Müller

Book Lovers Favourite Covers – Jens Müller

We are very pleased that Jens Müller of Optik, who spent several years editing and designing the monumental book 'Logo Modernism', has agreed to share his favourite book cover with us.

"I was still in my first year as a student at the design department of Hochschule Düsseldorf, when I spotted the announcement of a seminar entitled 'schmid today'. Two professors planned an exhibition about the work of Helmut Schmid, an Austrian-born German designer, educated in the mid-1960s at the famous class of Emil Ruder in Basle, living in Japan since the 1970s. I had no idea about any of this, but it sounded like an interesting task to me and I showed up at the assigned time. It turned out that the project was ongoing for a couple of semesters and in a bit of a hold-up. Helmut had visited Düsseldorf in one of the last semesters. He had left tons of his posters, packaging designs and books as exhibits, as well as many questions. 

It took another two or three semesters to get the ideal concept, the money and the dates for the exhibition that later took us students around the globe. For me this time was an in-depth education in graphic design history and typography. And Helmut’s book 'typography today' was the holy grail of it.

The then sold out book, was first published as a special edition of Idea Magazine, Tokyo in 1980. A year later it was republished as a book. On 200 pages 'typography today' shows the best in 20th century typography, very personally selected by Helmut Schmid. It includes not only work samples but contributions from people like John Cage, Wim Crouwel, Franco Grignani or April Greiman.

One of the fascinating things about the book is its unusual cover. It not only combines eastern and western language but also handwriting and the neutral Univers type. Helmut used a design of his former fellow student Wolfgang Weingart, created for an 1979 issue of Typografische Monatsblätter and mirrored it as an overlay to create the cover for 'typography today'. Under the book jacket, the cover can be seen without the overlay. 

For many years it was almost impossible to own a copy of the rare out-of-print book. I was most happy when Helmut sent me a copy of the resized edition produced for the Korean market a few years ago. A revised edition in its original format and design with texts in Japanese and English brought the book finally back to the shops in 2015. In a world of quickly outdated design books, 'typography today' has proven to be a book of vital importance and timeless beauty. For me its besides this, a publication connected with many great memories and my beginnings in graphic design."

Jens Müller


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