Grilli Type designer Reto Moser shares the books that inspire him

22 March 2017

Designer Reto Moser is a type designer currently working at Swiss type foundry Grilli Type. The studio was founded by Noël Leu and Thierry Blancpain in late 2009, and Reto has been working with them from the beginning. “We all studied together at the same school,” says Reto. “Since January 2016 though, I was officially hired and now work on all out of things like upcoming project, commissions and daily business.”

Grilli Type works as a small team to create original retail and custom typefaces and so far Reto has released GT Haptik and GT Eesti through the foundry, while working on almost all of the other releases in some shape or form. What Reto enjoys most about designing typefaces is how multifaceted it is: “On the one hand, I really like to be on the user-end of a typeface as a designer, and on the other I enjoy the meditative aspect of the drawing process.” For the designer’s bookshelf, Reto shares some of the books that have inspired recent projects, bargains he’s picked up over the years and a scientific publication by a group of architects and engineers.

L. Eisen: Aabits

Aabits is an Estonian alphabet instruction book from 1979. It was one of the initial templates for GT Eesti. I was given scans of this book long before I had the chance to buy an actual copy while visiting Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, in 2015.

I’ve been collecting children’s books for years, but this has to be my favourite one of them all. The bright coloured illustrations and the free-spirited layout and typesetting set Aabits apart from other books in this category.

Leonhard Lapin: Arhitektid Arhitektuurist

This book was given to me by Ivar Sakk, head of the graphic design department at the Estonian Academy of the Arts. It’s a translation of a Soviet-era book about Russian architecture, printed in 1989.

I really admire the thought put into the playful layout, especially considering the production methods available at that time. The craftsmanship can really be felt and seen.

Clubführer des Schweizer Alpen-Club: Berner Alpen

I own a few of these Swiss mountaineering club guides from the 70s. Since these books were intended to be used outdoors, not only did they need to be small, handy, and not to heavy, but also durable and well made.

I chose this not only for sentimental reasons, but also because there’s something about how the format, binding, paper, typesetting, and illustration come together as a whole. The complete package, I really like that.

André Roch: In Fels und Eis

I first came across this book at the archive of the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research where they have a great collection of mountaineering books. Unfortunately it was not for sale. About two years later I found it at my favourite secondhand book shop for about $2, what a bargain!

Peter Steiger: PLENAR – Planung, Energie, Architektur

I can’t remember where I bought this, but I’m sure it was the cover that caught my attention. It’s a scientific publication by a group of architects, engineers, physicists, meteorologist etc. looking at energy-conscious construction. Published in 1975, the articles still feel very contemporary. The amateurish and rough design makes this book very charming and also enjoyable to look at.

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About the Author

Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca Fulleylove is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and culture. She is also senior writer at Creative Review, having previously worked at Elephant, Google Arts & Culture, and It’s Nice That.

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