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Karl Gerstner. Schiff nach Europa / Markus Kutter. Teufen: Arthur Niggli, 1957

“Similarly [as Richard Paul Lohse] devoted to the square was Karl Gerstner. In 1957, the year in which his (square) Kalte Kunst? Was published, he used a grid of huge complexity for one of the most innovative of twentieth-century book designs, Schiff nach Europa (Boat to Europe), a novel. In this book the freedom and variety of columns widths and sizes of type, still within the limits of metal typesetting, are used to echo the novel’s changing styles of writing and the character’s way of speaking. All are mastered by an elaborate grid (...) Gerstner explained (in TM, February 1972, p. 33) that the grid ‘provided the integration of typography and the surface area: the type area is derived from [the dimensions of] this space, in other words, from the outside to the inside. So the area is first divided into squares, 2x3; the squares into units, 7x7; the units into 3x3 units of body size, the smallest typographical measurement -type size and leading. This result in a flexible grid, in which the type area can fit with an (almost) unlimited freedom.”

Richard Hollis. Swiss graphic design: the origins and growth of an international style, 1920-1965. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006 (p. 178, 179)

Schiff nach Europa is considered to be one of the most innovative book designs of the twentieth century and an outstanding example on 'Integral Typography', which Karl Gerstner outlined in his 1963 publication Designing Programmes (...) Using the two sans-serif faces, Akzidenz-Grotesk (for larger, hand-set type) and Monotype Grotesque (for the machine-set copy), Gerstner plays with a wide variety of print styles, combining traditional narrative formats with those of play scripts and newspaper journalism, and manipulating type size, column widths and orientation to convey the individual voices of the ship's passengers. The work was a collaboration between Gerstner and Kutter, and, in a prefatory note to the book, the latter acknowledges his good fortune in working with a designer who understands format, and wonders why writers are not more interested in the way their work is presented.”

The Phaidon archive of graphic design. London: Phaidon Press, 2012 (H026)