Archive through September 26, 2003

matha_standun's picture


I've started a new thread on this subject so I can't be accused of hijacking someone else's.

Now that I've thought about it for a whole day and looked over all the Heller texts I have hanging around at home, I can rationalise my feelings to a certain extent.

In a nutshell, then, I don't like it when a prolific and respected writer abuses his or her position and disseminates their own prejudices/political agenda disguised as critical writing.

This extract from Heller's Designing Hate: Is There a Graphic Language of Vile Emotion takes the biscuit as far as I'm concerned:

German Fraktur type (as opposed to other medieval gothics, such as Old English) still evokes iron-fisted authority. The words ULT!, VERBOTEN!, and JUDE! are frightening when spelled out in these letterforms. Actually, anything set in Fraktur, even the most harmless words and phrases, takes on a decidedly ominous look.

I'm sorry, but this is pure propaganda. He should be ashamed of himself for publishing it. Or maybe the publisher should be ashamed.

Anyway, this sort of thing coupled with the tripe in his Swastika book have most definitely turned me off his work.


matha_standun's picture

The "real" history? I don't claim to know the real history of anything, David.

And are you the same David Hamuel who was posting yesterday? The prejudice in question is mine. Remember? "Irrational prejudice against Steven Heller"? Ring any bells?

And please stop repeating yourself.


William Berkson's picture

>not here

Why not?

I think everyone posting here would be interested if these other books have something that sheds light on the swastika and prejudice, whether against the swastika or against Heller's judgment on it.

anonymous's picture

This thread sucks.

anonymous's picture

Matha, [ edited ] What are you doing? What book did you write?

[ Consistent with the informal Typophile Constitution, this post has been edited to remove personal attacks. ]

Joe Pemberton's picture

[ Regarding the editing of posts. Unfortunately, when
people make attacks we edit them. In this case, it may
seem as if we favor the opinions of those who have
identified themselves. This is not the intent. Please
attack the issue, not the person. ]

Joe Pemberton's picture

I agree with you Hrant, about blackletter. It has a heritage
and an aesthetic that doesn't deserve to be forever usurped
by the Nazis. That said, it will be a very, very long time
before you see major corporations, large organizations or
governments use it. And who could blame them? Certainly I won't.

The swastika, though? Does graphic design really need a
swastika as part of our visual palette of elements? I don't
think anybody is suggesting that. (I hope they aren't.)

Joe Pemberton's picture

BJ, good point. I feel corrected about corporations not
using it...

I don't know that anybody's still usurping blackletter. I'm
just saying it doesn't deserve to be as taboo as the swastika
(is this what Heller is suggesting?). And yes, I'm saying the
swastika is still taboo because hate groups still use it and
it still holds its emotional power... at least where I come from.

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