Fictional Design History
A volume packed with historical images looks back at the life and work of Bernese decorator, dandy and jet-setter ‘Bob’ Steffen (1928–2012). Taking its cue from the topic and era, its design attempts a reappraisal of magazine typology in conjunction with 1960s Swiss design. Magazine sections such as the editorial, the illustrated essay and the photo gallery are presented in grid layouts with an adapted Helvetica as title font. With up to 12 photos per double page, varying sizes, formats and positionings, and large areas of white space, the book offers up a series of constantly changing, invariably interesting combinations of image and text. Freely positioned titles and plentiful, identically sized cross-headings add extra variation. The photo galleries are often full-bleed on both sides of the double page, though sometimes with a white margin at the bottom. The impression is perhaps of a lost formal language rediscovered, perhaps of a facsimile of a fictional magazine from fifty years ago.