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LUC DEVROYE


ABOUT







Emil Ruder

Swiss typographer (b. Zürich 1914, d. Basel, 1970), and type guru in the 50s and 60s. Ruder taught at the Basel School of Design (Kunstgewerbeschule), and founded the International Center for the Typographic Arts in New York, 1962.

Author of Typographie: Ein Gestaltungslehrbuch - A Manual of Design - Un Manuel de Creation (Teufen: Niggli, 1967), and Typographie. Ein Gestaltungslehrbuch. Mit über 500 Beispielen (7th edition in 2001, Niggli). The Road to Basel (Helmut Schmid) is an homage to Emil Ruder by Helmut Schmid, one of Ruder's students, who headed a group of other ex-students and organized their contributions. The former students who participated are Harry Boller, Roy Cole, Heini Fleischhacker, Fritz Gottschalk, André Gürtler, Hans-Jürg Hunziker, Hans-Rudolf Lutz, Fridolin Müller, Marcel Nebel, Åke Nilsson, Bruno Pfäffli, Will van Sambeek, Helmut Schmid, Peter Teubner, Wolfgang Weingart, and Yves Zimmermann. Karl Gerstner and Kurt Hauert also contributed. Paul Shaw reviews this book and Ruder's contributions.

Quotes from Shaw's piece:

  • It is clear that those lucky enough to study under Ruder found him as exciting and demanding as they had expected. With a few exceptions these former students quickly and permanently fell under the sway of the charismatic and ambitious Ruder.
  • Ruder promised a new functionalism derived from the Bauhaus. His was a new approach to typography that went beyond the technical fundamentals of metal type composition to embrace modern art (especially that of Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian). Ruder focused on the point, the line, the plane, and the way in which typography activated space. His article Die Flache (the plane or the space), following lessons he had learned from The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura and from modern art, stressed the activation and destruction of space as the goal of typography as well as of art and architecture.
  • Ruders typography is defined by asymmetry and an emphasis on counter, shape, and negative space.
  • Harry Boller writes that Ruder and his students were Puritans on a mission, serious, humorless. We had been led to a morality, and strong convictions remain. Banality, lack of imagination, and swiping of ideas were all ridiculed, while sincerity of expression was encouraged. Gottschalk says that Ruder taught courtesy, ethics, and modesty as much as he taught typography.

IDEA Mag's special issue #332 entitled Ruder Typography Ruder Philosophy (2009), with articles by Leon Maillet (Tessin), Armin Hofmann (Lucerne), Karl Gerstner (Basel), Kurt Hauert (Basel), Lenz Klotz (Basel), Wim Crouwel (Amsterdam), Adrian Frutiger (Paris), Hans Rudolf Bosshard (Zurich), Andre Gutler (Basel), Juan Arrausi (Barcelona), Ake Nilsson (Uppsala), Fridolin Muller (Stein am Rhein), Harry Boller (Chicago), Maxim Zhukov (New York), Taro Yamamoto (Tokyo), Fjodor Gejko (Düsseldorf), Helmut Schmid (Osaka), and Susanne Ruder-Schwarz (Basel).

Article on Ruder by Shane Bzdok, 2008.

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Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html