Jan Tschichold (1902–1974) is a reputed European typographer. Very few of those who write about typography and book design (and they are few to start with) can get their message across and share their knowledge as explicitly as Tschichold. He had worked in publishing for over forty years. Having started by discarding outdated ideas, he achieved a lot—educating several generations of book designers. Tschichold himself oversaw the publishing of an impressive number of Swiss and British books.
The book in dust jacket and without it
The Form of the Book is a collection of Tschichold’s major essays, sans those where he condemns typographic ignorance of the time. This work explains why so many publications appear wretched in terms of design. It also teaches to truly appreciate rare, exceptionally well designed volumes. This makes The Form of the Book a must-read for any typographer, publisher, designer, or just about any book lover.
The work of a book artist is very different from that of a graphic artist. The latter is constantly looking for new visual means of expressing his or her individuality, while the book designer must always serve the words faithfully and tactfully, without ever allowing typographic form to reign over text or to distort its perception. The work of a graphic artist meets momentary requirements and rarely lasts (with the exception of published compilations). The book, however, has to last. The purpose of a graphic artist is self-expression; but the task of a book artist, aware of his responsibility and duty, is disengagement. Those who want to “express the Zeitgeist,” or to “create something new,” should probably avoid working on books. Book typography, strictly speaking, has nothing new to offer.
From the article “Graphic art and art of the book”