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© Photographs by Koos van der Meer.


Posted 08 May 1987

Arlette Brouwers, ‘Editorial. The Image of Wiederhall’. Translated from [the] Dutch by Bram De Blécourt, Pandorama. Amsterdam Cultural Capital of Europe 1987. Wiederhall 5. Edited by Arlette Brouwers, Paul Draaijer, Joost Meuwissen and Arthur Wortmann (Amsterdam: Stichting Wiederhall, 1987), 23.

The Image of Wiederhall

Arlette Brouwers

The visual appearance of Wiederhall is meant to be a breakthrough between the primary character of written language (typography) and the secundary visual image (architectural drawings, photographs, paintings, etc.) as a means of illustration of the copy. Avoiding simultaneously that the copy acts as a caption to the illustrations, both, the visual image and the copy, are autonomous but at the same time closely related to one another, the expression of each is different although both are being read and analysed by the eye. There is no intention whatsoever to explain in the copy what can be shown visually, which is not common practice in journalism; Wiederhall should not be seen as a journalistic publication. Therefore it is doubtful whether there should be any explanation at all why Wiederhall is designed like it is, I would rather let it silently speak for itself.
To what extent does one notice how something is designed, what the typography looks like, how it is printed? One can do nothing but hope that the answer to this question is not too unfavourable. Perhaps one experiences only a feeling that comes across whilst leafing through a book, catalogue or any other printed publication. ‘Looking’ is of paramount importance for a designer or typographer and a basic need, obviously this must be the same for an architect or an artist. Hence the desire to show and print the images in Wiederhall comprehensible and clear.
An architectural drawing is often detailed, of a large scale and with relatively thin rules. In printing this will need to be reduced. Because the architect draws for a purpose other than printing, this is rarely accounted for. A logical result is to choose a large size for printing, unfortunately this choice is not as unrestrained as one might think. There are limitations to print-sizes and paper, in our case the maximum print-size is 910 x 630 mm. The sizes of paper are standardised in A-sizes and the print-size is tuned to this in order to obtain the most economical result. This is why we usually find the magazines and catalogues in a size close to A4 (297 x 210). On each side of a sheet 8 pages will be printed whereafter the binder folds this into a section of 16 pages. For Wiederhall we need a larger size and we print 6 pages per side, this results into a square size of 297 x 297 mm. Each sheet is folded three times and we obtain a section of 12 pages. Obviously one could ignore A-sizes completely, only this has severe economical consequences through paper-loss and the production of film and printing-plates. The choice for 4 pages less per section was made in favour of a larger size. Another problem is the handling, especially dispatch and the size of letterboxes (often even too small for A4, less than 210 mm wide). From the start the intention has been to fold the magazine once as a sort of luxury newspaper with an address label over the full height. By folding once we now have a size of 297 x 148.5 mm. This division into two has been used as the basis for the typography. Rather than a disadvantage I believe this is an enrichment of the image of Wiederhall (there is however an optional subscription for unfolded magazines).
The vertical positioning of the headlines is also a result of the folding. The vertical position of the title on the front cover has as advantage the ability to read WIEDERHALL when the magazines are placed over each other on the shelves in a bookshop. The typography and the choice of the optical condensed typeface aim at the reinforcement of the architectonic character, and with its tight and constructional idea gives a certain distance to the variety of content. The typography should specifically not draw the attention away from the visual part by using different typefaces and sizes (the type-specimen idea). Also the so-called ‘didactic typography’ is avoided, for this often results in a childish effect. The character of each issue takes shape through the layout of the visual part (the arrangement of the illustrations) and the editorial sequence, time and time again an important phase.
The choice of paper obviously plays an important role. Because the image is considered to be autonomous, translucency of the paper should be avoided. By choosing 135 g/sqm orion paper the re-appearing line-drawings will be less hard edged and more saturated; this also applies to black-and-white photographs. This satin finished paper does not take too much ink and is suitable for colour-lithos. It is also possible of course to choose a white paper stock where the colour illustrations require another solution, for example see the paintings by Marian Plug in issue number 4. Exceptions prove the rule!
After each five issues covering one title or theme, we produce a slipcase. The set-up is such that the front page of each issue is part of the first article and the back page part of the last. This results in a less prominent cover and the covers can be seen as pages in an edition of 5 combined issues.

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