Issues: Hamish Muir, MuirMcNeil

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Graphic designer Hamish Muir teaches at London College of Communication, and co-founded MuirMcNeil, a project-based collaborative design practice with Paul McNeil, in 2009. Before that he was a key part of the London-based Studio 8vo (1985-2001), and was co-editor of the associated design journal Octavo (1986-92). This series of eight magazines (seven printed, one on DVD) has achieved legenadary status for its design and production quality. A new book about Octavo is currently being Kickstarted by Unit Editions (details below).

We asked Hamish to share some favourite publications: a recent one, an old one and another thing.

A new issue: IDEA #323 – Wim Crouwel issue
IDEA has always been a favourite. I don’t buy many issues, but I watch out for ones with content of particular interest. In a sense, IDEA does everything magazines often can’t: it’s ‘slow’, cared-for, carefully designed and with production values that can only be regarded with amazement. This issue devoted to Wim Crouwel is especially apposite given his connection with the design of the identity of the Dutch pavilion at Expo 70, in Osaka, Japan. The most impressive thing about IDEA is the way it reinvents itself to best reflect the content of each issue, an approach which resonates with the way 8vo approached the design of Octavo.

An old issue: TM (Typographische Monatsblätter) – ‘Is this typography worth supporting or do we live on the moon?’
TM’s history is as both a bona fide trade journal and the primary vehicle of record for post-Ruder/Müller Brockmann Swiss typographic experimentation in the form of the ’Special Issues’, most notably those from Wolfgang Weingart and Hans-Rudolf Lutz published in the 1970s and 80s. Through these, TM punched above its weight, and expanded its audience way beyond the Swiss borders and the print trade. The supplement from 1976 by Weingart and Peter von Kornatzki (‘Is This Typography Worth Supporting, Or Do We Live On The Moon?’), is the manifesto for a new typography: it is Weingart’s editorial masterwork in the typo/graphic synthesis of word and image.

And another thing: ‘TM RSI SGM 1960-90 – 30 Years of Swiss Typographic Discourse in the Typographische Monatsblätter’
This book is edited by École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL), Louise Paradis with Roland Früh and François Rappo. Published by Lars Müller in 2013 it is an exemplary record of a journal. It is well-researched and beautifully put-together, and offers insight into the politics of TM, including this remarkable passage in a letter to the editor from Jan Tschichold written in 1972: “This is hopefully the last time that an issue of TM will be published with a cover by Weingart. I have my doubts as to whether the man is in his right mind.”

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