‘There is a very unusual catalogue called Manufactum, which is put together by a German eccentric who revels in the name of Thomas Hoof. He travels the world (always on the hoof?) choosing products. It started as an idea for a few friends, and has spread by word of mouth to become a huge business. The selection criterion is simply what appeals to him. He picks the most intriguing, most effective, most unlikely things. The only common feature is that they are all beautiful. The most recent edition features jute tool bags, midge repellent, brass taps, camera tripods and Italian linen hunters’ caps.
‘The layout of the catalogue is practical and unpretentious. He is not trying to achieve anything with the design apart from showing the goods. He uses Helvetica for the conversational captions, and I can’t imagine another typeface working quite so well. Helvetica has achieved an extraordinary ordinariness, it is so ubiquitous that it is almost not a typeface.’