Dimension of Two
In a voluminous yet easy-to-handle self-publication with a white softcover, the three designers who make up Norm sum up their many years of unique practical research into the fundamental principles of graphic design. The nine chapters, most in black and white, deal with topics such as size ratios, page divisions, graphic objects and letter shapes. They are densely packed with a wide variety of drawings and schemata elucidated with minimalist textual information. The huge number of examples and the deliberately limited means used to illustrate them attest to a high degree of self-discipline that occasionally comes across as overdone. But the combination of highly specialised and systematic observations with others that are more cryptic and witty makes for a fascinating blend. Although the book never comes across as didactic, it clearly expresses Norm’s preferences, its appearance hinting from a distance at its heritage in handbooks and manuals from the era of Swiss Design. At the same time, it can be viewed as an atlas of Norm’s world, which is explored here from general overview right down to close-up detail. It is no coincidence that the title formulation Dimension of Two echoes the Powers of Ten films by Charles and Ray Eames.