Gerard Unger

Theory of Type Design

Theory of Type Design is the last book by the type designer, graphic designer, teacher and ‘letter-writer’ Gerard Unger, who died in 2018. With it he was reacting to the view that a theory of type design is an impossibility, though he did not pretend to be presenting the theory of type design. Although he designed countless books, for the design of his own book he entered into a collaboration with the younger designer Hansje van Halem. The two of them obviously got a great deal of enjoyment out of the job, the generous Unger leaving the design to van Halem while she drew inspiration from his fonts – and his idiosyncratic preferences regarding colours. The many examples of types that come by in a book like this have here been turned into images, illustrations in which the chosen passage of text often refers with a wink to the character of the type presented or the specific point being illustrated with the example. The annotations have been put within the text block of the main text, like the glosses in medieval manuscripts: in other words this is a book about letters and books, but the theory is just as much about designing fonts for modern displays. Absolutely classic Hansje are the endpapers: take a good look and you’ll see that the elegant pattern is based on the letter x mutating from roman to bold and back, and printed lovingly and for nothing by co-publisher Jan de Jong. Binder van Waarden has delivered outstanding work with elegant thin boards. The singular colour combination of cover material, reading ribbon and endpapers is entirely Unger, who speaking of himself remarked that he was actually a lot more obstinate than his thoughtful mien might suggest.

Edition: 2018
Release date: August 2018
Language: English
Translator: Christopher Burke
Final editor: Christopher Burke
Picture editor: Gerard Unger
Illustrator: Hansje van Halem
Publisher / commissioner: nai010 uitgevers, Rotterdam
Available through: Webshop
Designer: Hansje van Halem (Amsterdam)
Lithographer: Wilco Art Books, Amersfoort
Printer: Wilco Art Books; Offsetdrukkerij Jan de Jong (endpapers), Amersfoort, Amsterdam
Binder: Boekbinderij Van Waarden, Zaandam
Dimensions: 160 x 240 x 20
Amount of pages: 240
Number of copies: 1,500
Retail price in euros: € 34.95
ISBN: 978 94 6208 440 7
Font and foundry: Alverata (TypeTogether), Sanserata (TypeTogether), Demos (Linotype)
Binding style: Sewn hardback with flat spine, thin boards with minimal square, marker
Paper interior: 90gsm Munken Premium Cream 1.95, Arctic Paper | Antalis
Paper end papers: 170gsm Magno Volume, Igepa
Cover material: 115gsm Wibalin Satina Amethyst, over 1,5 mm greyboard, Winter & Company
Other technical features: Foil stamping in gold and silver (Luxor 427 and Alufin Mat KURZ, applied by KuiperDonse).