type specimens represent a whole category of book collecting. i have a few in my design library but i do not collect them per se. accidentally accumulate is more like it. surely designers roger black, jonathan hoefler and matthew carter have many, many fine examples. this particular type specimen comes from a special place and a unique person. i have had it for more than a dozen years. as a student at the yale school of art i became friends with one of my professors, paul rand. mr rand and i both collected all things written and designed by jan tschichold. on a particular visit to mr rand’s home he asked me to sit down, said he had something to show me. he went back to his library and returned with a completely tattered old book. the spine was broken and it was in a horrible state. of course i loved it.
many pages had been torn out and many pages had letters cut from them. (it was mr rand’s practice to cut letters and use them in his compositions. in a later post I will show you one such example.) he would also tear swatches from covers of art catalogs, books, whatever he fancied to use as a color reference for projects he was working on. i once saw a wonderful copy of typographishe monatsblätter with a three-inch chunk cut from it. i couldn’t bear to do this myself. anyway, mr rand turned page after page to reveal the most wonderful type specimens. however, since we usually spoke about tschichold, i did not understand what this book had to do with him. then mr rand closed the book and opened it from the beginning, revealing the inside front cover and the ex libris. it had belonged to none other than jan tschichold. my mouth fell open and mr rand smiled. enjoy, as I have.