Max Miedinger

andi emery's picture

I am in semi-desperate need of a photo of Max Miedinger for a piece I am putting together about the design of Helvetica. I can't seem to find any photos anywhere of the man. Does anyone have a photo or a scan they can send/post? I would be eternally grateful!

Andrea

{moderator edited spelling of name}

swiss dots's picture

andrea, i've got a few, i'll email you.

-gary

andi emery's picture

Gary, you rock! Thanks so much!

Martin LAllier's picture

If you google the name Max Miedinger you get a few. http://www.frieze.com/feature_single.asp?f=720

andi emery's picture

Yeah, I got that one (at various sizes and resolutions): thanks Martin. Gary sent me what I needed. He rocks. : )

j_polo9's picture

oh are you going to post up your bit about helvetica when your finished!

andi emery's picture

Probably not, Jesse. The research is for my college curriculum and I'm just trying to fatten up what I already have with diagrams and photos. The wiki on Max does look a bit slim though. Pehaps Gary will contribute to it!

swiss dots's picture

yeah, i was planning on adding to the wiki, i've got sooo much helvetica/miedinger information. will hopefully get to it later this month.

and good luck with your project, andrea.

cheers,

-gary

j_polo9's picture

ahh then i guess your students get all the good stuff. Have you any plans on providing an online course then? :P

twardoch's picture

Andi,

it’s "Miedinger" (pronounced mee-ding-er), not "Meidinger".

A.

Martin LAllier's picture

My question is: shouldn't we be a bit more curious about other typefaces?

I'm quite a bit tired - personally - to see so much stuff (and now a film) made on the most generic typeface of all times. I understand of course it's importance in the context of the modernist movement and that it's a well crafted piece of design.

Shouldn't we be over this font, especially when we can all agree of it's very limited use in contemporary typography? (no italics, small caps, old style figures, ... and not very good for signage and very poor for reading enjoyment, ...)?

Do we, subconsciously, long for the “generic/inexpressive“ in design?

fredo's picture

I don't think it's subconscious. A designer must choose, and sometimes he/she probably feels an expressive/alluding type face steals the focus. I'm no fan of Helvetica, but I see a point in using it because it has been so overexposed it's as if it's considered entirely featureless, which it's not.

ƒ

andi emery's picture

Adam: Noted, thank you.
(memo to self: i before e except after c...)

dezcom's picture

We should indeed be curious about other typefaces. The problem is, are they all film material? Do they have the recognition and broad exposure to make film the medium of choice or is a book or magazine or Journal article the best place to portray type?

We type lovers would all rush out to see any film about type (since there have been SO many) but the cost and time to make a film means you have to find a broader audience. You can argue the case for a few other typefaces as well but Helvetica is certainly on the list for either the love or hate kinds of interest which would entice film viewing.

ChrisL

timd's picture

Ken Russell makes Eric Gill film?
Tim

jupiterboy's picture

Lair of the Notan with Theresa Russell as white space.

Nakmura Kazuma's picture

hi

i am doing a project on helvetica and its designer. if any one has more info and pics could u kindly post it or direct me to it? thank u

Nick Shinn's picture

The notoriety of Helvetica within the design community is as much a reason for the documentary as the type's ubiquity. That provides a modicum of drama: talking head vs. talking head. Because from what I've seen of the doc so far, it's unlikely to be as unequivocal as, say, An Inconvenient Truth.

As Erik mentioned on another thread, Miedinger was more art director than designer--right up there with Morison, "excogitator" (his own term) of Times Roman.

Nick Shinn's picture

Ken Russell makes Eric Gill film

Alfonso Cuarón makes Sweynham & Pannartz movie.
Opens with the burning of Mainz (critics will think Baghdad) and the future of civilisation (printing) in the balance as the printers escape with their press on a donkey cart, over the Alps.

dan_reynolds's picture

>Miedinger was more art director than designer

Well, Edouard Hoffmann was more like Neue Haas Grotesk's art director. This doesn't negate that Miedinger was more art director than designer, too. But designers keep tending to want to give Miedinger the design credit for Neue Haas Grotesk/Helvetica, and this isn't exactly accurate.

Bleisetzer's picture

Right.
The most weights of Helvetica were designed after 1961.
Max Miedinger designed the regular and the bold version starting in 1937, but finishing it and been produced by Haas in 1957.

So I for myself list it in my "Schriftensammlung" in this way. I think its correcter.

Georg

William Berkson's picture

Dan, that is interesting but confusing. If they were both art directors of the project who actually drew it? Did Haas have a drawing office? What was their role?

Georg, are you sure about 1937? Both the wiki and typowiki have it as being done in the 50s.

dan_reynolds's picture

Georg, you keep quoting that 1937 number, which is totaly false! Someone made a typing errror on the internet; Max Medinger was not working on any typeface design that woule become Helvetica, or anything else, in 1937. I've mentioned this before on other forums. Why do you believe it anyway?

William, Hoffmann was Miedinger's boss, and he commissioned the work. Miedinger drew the key characters of one or two weights for Hoffmann's approval. These typefaces were then produced by Haas. I don't know who in their design offices worked on completing the sketches. After a few years, Stempel and Linotype in Frankfurt took over the typeface, developing it into the super family that we now know as Helvetica.

William Berkson's picture

>Miedinger drew the key characters of one or two weights

Sounds to me like a substantial portion of the credit (or blame!) goes to the people in the Haas drawing office.

dan_reynolds's picture

…and Stempel's! They made most of the family's weights. Helvetica has more than just regular, bold, etc. Think about all of the heavies and the headline things.

The really light and thin designs came in the 1980s, when Stempel/Linotype released Neue Helvetica.

Nick Shinn's picture

Advertisement in Life.
It was a big magazine, and the text must have been 18pt, I would guess.


dezcom's picture

I think Dan is referring to the hairline version. I know I saw and used Helvetica light during the 60s to.

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

Cool! I wish that I had that car…

dezcom's picture

It gets about 10 mpg Dan :-)

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

Yes, Chris understands me :(

[Old] Helvetica does indeed have a light version, whose letters look like Nick's sample.

Neue Helvetica, in addition to a light weight, has two thinner weights: "35 Thin" and "25 Ultra Light." These are the really, really thin weights (hairlines) that we are used to seeing today.

Bleisetzer's picture

Dan,
what I wrote is that Max Miedinger started the design of this font in 1937. And its written in a biography I read some years ago. But it was produced from Haas 1957.

http://www.fontblog.de/wie-helvetica-zu-ihrem-namen-kam

I think there is nothing wrong for a designer to realize an idea a long time before this idea becomes a product.
I promis to look for the biography and to send title and author when I start to organize the move of PBM next month.

Georg

dan_reynolds's picture

I don't doubt that Miedinger was already working by 1937; but to imply (without any record, sample drawings, etc) that he spent 20 years working a the design of Neue Haas Grotesk makes the story more complicated than it probably was. It also implies that Miedinger was already working on the design before Hoffmann commissioned it, which I doubt is the case. If this were true, then Hoffmann and the Haas production team might deserve less credit, where in my opinion they actually deserve more credit than they have gotten!

swiss dots's picture

Hoffmann and Miedinger did not begin work on Neue Haas Grotesk until around 1954 I believe, at least that's when the original drawings and proofs I've seen are dated. Miedinger defintely did not do any work on the design of Neue Haas Grotesk prior to the '50s.

kat78's picture

Hello - I sent an email to andi - but it seems that the email address isn't available anymore!Here's the original message i sent:

HELLO ANDI!

It seems that I've got the same problem - I'm in the middle of finishing
my final-examination-work - and I have to write something about the
designers of the fonts I used - and I don't find an adequate picture of
Max Miedinger...

Would you mind to forward yours to me?

Thank you so much in advance for your reply!

Katharina from the Black-Forest-Region/Germany

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