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Contributed by Florian Hardwig





Source: http://www.janet-hansen.com Janet Hansen. License: All Rights Reserved.

The cover for Nico Walker’s debut novel Cherry was designed by Janet Hansen, senior designer at Alfred A. Knopf, with creative direction from Carol Devine Carson. It was chosen as one of the New York Times’ 12 Best Book Covers of 2018. To get to this superb result wasn’t exactly straightforward, though. Over on LitHub, Hansen recounts the process. “The Trouble With Designing a Book When Its Author is in Jail” is a fascinating and refreshingly candid story full of detours and dead ends, with a happy ending.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the type. Strictly speaking, it’s not even type. The title doesn’t use a font, and yet it’s written with prefabricated letters. Janet Hansen has tapped into an alternative format that used to be a common one from the 1950s to the 1970s: alphabet source books. The letters used for “CHERRY” stem from OP-Letter, a set of fat shaded capitals with a number of charmingly wonky details and inconsistencies. Walter Haettenschweiler, the Swiss letterform designer extraordinaire, drew them with a Rapidograph technical pen and named it after the OP Art movement [Swiss Type Design]. His piece of lettering was reproduced in the third volume of Lettera, published by Arthur Niggli in 1968.



Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-ND.

OP-Letter as shown in Lettera 3 by Armin Haab and Walter Haettenschweiler (ed.). Teufen AR: Arthur Niggli, 1968, 2nd edition 1970.


The Lettera series was started by Armin Haab and Alex Stocker in 1954. Following Stocker’s premature death in the same year, Haab continued it together with Haettenschweiler, adding three more volumes until 1972. In addition to dry transfer lettering and the more expensive phototypesetting, alphabet copybooks were an accessible, low-cost letterform source in the pre-digital era. While the usual techniques involved tracing or photocopying, chopped up copies of Lettera books are sad proof that some users chose a less sustainable approach. (Hansen resorted to a scanner, of course.) The editors were well aware that their compendium books effectively served as a fount of letters. The introduction mentions that “every purchaser of LETTERA 3 is entitled to form words or texts for any purpose from the alphabets it contains.”



Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-ND.

Fat Albert, a – probably unauthorized – phototype adaptation of OP-Letter, as shown in The Complete Lettergraphics Library. Culver City: Lettergraphics International Ltd., 1976.


Despite the fact that this “EULA” prohibited any unauthorized reproduction, OP-Letter was copied by Lettergraphics in the US and made into a film typeface dubbed Fat Albert. This version is distinguished by harmonized letter heights and a more even H. Shadows in C, F, R are different, and the missing P as well as numerals etc. were added. This film face also appears as Googie aka Fat Albert Square in Castcraft’s Encyclopedia (1978) and as Albert in 1970s catalogs by Typeshop and Fürst. Moderne Alphabets (Dover, 1999) has it under the alias Zippy. In the preface to Lettera 4 (1972), Armin Haab comments on the radical changes in the industry since the mid 1950s:

… a new industry appeared on the scene and began to distribute typefaces, old and new, in vast quantities. Photocomposition had arrived. Firms in this line mushroomed overnight, stole from LETTERA even the types we had designed ourselves, and sold them to anyone interested at so much per word. (For good or ill I had to ask these gentry to pay up!) – But the new trend had been set. The graphic designer was neither willing nor able to draw letters in accordance with consistent artistic principles. More and more graphic designers, advertising agencies, display managers and publishers came to depend on the faces proviced by photocomposing firms. Today their number is legion. They supply the market with display faces while the typefoundries produce mainly body type.

While the phototype knockoffs are all long gone and forgotten, the Lettera books are still around and, as with this case, continue to provide inspiration and unique letterforms for contemporary applications. Justice will prevail!

Shown below are some of the preliminary versions for the Cherry cover where Janet Hansen also used OP-Letter. See more steps from the journey to an award-winning cover in her walkthrough on LitHub.



Source: https://lithub.com Janet Hansen. License: All Rights Reserved.

After the cover designer ran into another dead end and the creative director suggested the job be given to a freelancer, Hansen drew new hope with this idea: “I quite liked it, as did everyone here at Knopf—the dual suggestion of the cherry of a cigarette and also a gun.”




Source: https://lithub.com Janet Hansen. License: All Rights Reserved.

The breakthrough? Almost. “A skull is a good symbol for the book, but the first execution felt too predictable. This is when it dawned on me that there was an important aspect of the novel that I wasn’t including in any of these jackets: the fact that it is uniquely American. I tried adding an American element.”




Source: https://lithub.com Janet Hansen. License: All Rights Reserved.

“While the last one is too smiley, the surprise element of it being secondary to the stars felt appropriate. Almost like the skull (and all of the darkness in the novel) came about as some naïve mistake.” For the final version (shown at the top of this post), the death’s head was toned down even more. Once detected, the effect is all the more powerful.


Watch Janet Hansen talk at the Typographics conference on June 14 about the power of simplicity in contemporary book cover design. Fonts In Use is a media partner of Typographics. See more work by speakers of the 2019 edition.

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Contributed by Florian Hardwig






Pierre Pané-Farré. License: All Rights Reserved.

Soirée Fantastique is a captivating visual journey into the 19th century, to the early days of both posters and photography. Conceived and designed by Pierre Pané-Farré, the book won the Gold Medal in the competition Best Book Design from all over the World and also was awarded at the Walter Tiemann Prize 2018.



Pierre Pané-Farré. License: All Rights Reserved.

Stacks of posters from Oskar Leiner’s print shop.




Pierre Pané-Farré. License: All Rights Reserved.

In the mid 1800s, posters began to be mass-produced. It was the first time that typographic letters became visible in the urban space on a bigger scale. The basis for this book is a bundle of 330 posters from this period, which Pané-Farré unearthed in the archives of Leipzig’s city museum. They all originated at a single print shop, the Buchdruckerei Oskar Leiner, and date from 1847 to 1876. Most of them are letterpress-printed, sometimes combined with lithography, and show an increasing diversity of type styles and sizes. This – together with the use of woodcut illustrations, colored ink and paper, as well as larger paper sizes – suggests an intensified competition for attention in the streets. A selection of 64 posters are reproduced in color and presented in stacks, allowing the reader to reenact the experience in the museum’s archive and leaf through the broadsheets. They are interspersed with twelve poster details reproduced at actual size. These fragments are letterpress-printed from stereotypes in a single color.



Pierre Pané-Farré. License: All Rights Reserved.

City photographs by Alexander Seitz (left), letterpress-printed reproduction of a poster fragment (right).


The inclusion of 58 historical photographs form an ingenious counterpart to the posters. Taken by Alexander Seitz between 1860 and 1885, they depict Leipzig’s urban space in the period when the city grew into a metropolis, and became the center of ­German book printing. These are the same streets and squares where the posters once were posted and viewed, and some pictures actually show the venues where the advertised attractions like circus and variety shows took place.



Pierre Pané-Farré. License: All Rights Reserved.

The photographs are reproduced from the five-volume album Das alte und neue Leipzig. The original captions and image sequence were retained.




Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-ND.

Detail of the title page.


For the book typography, Pané-Farré combined three typefaces. FF Balance Regular (Evert Bloemsma, 1993) is used for the short accompanying text (bilingual; English and German), the index, and the captions to the photographs. On the cover and the title page, it’s paired with caps in the No. 71 style from Knockout (Jonathan Hoefler, 1990), a gothic series inspired by 19th century wood types. In contrast, Balance is an intentionally contemporary choice. According to Pané-Farré, it was partly chosen for its inktraps. With this feature, Balance promised crisp results when being letterpress-printed from photopolymer plates.

The undisputed cover star is Schmale Egyptienne No.12, a digital revival of Eduard Haenel’s Schmale Egyptienne 28 Cicero (c. 1838–41), made by the book designer himself. The condensed slab serif was later released as part of the Affichen-Schriften series by Forgotten Shapes. It here is used with the high i dot and the compact Q, two forms that ended up in the font as alternates. Forgotten Shapes is a new type label that was launched by Pané-Farré together with Reymund Schröder and Stephan Müller in 2018. It’s committed to publishing “digital reconstructions of typefaces that have somehow vanished”.

Soirée Fantastique was published by the Institut für Buchkunst Leipzig in spring 2017 in an edition of 500 copies. Unsurprisingly, the book is out of print. If you still want to get your hands on some Soirée Fantastique goodness, rejoice: As a complement to the book, Pané-Farré printed a limited edition of letterpress posters. There are a few copies left both of the official color version as well as of the “bootleg” version, i.e. hand proofs printed in black.



Source: https://panefarre.com Pierre Pané-Farré. License: All Rights Reserved.

The accompanying poster was letterpress-printed in iridescent colors. The fonts in use are various wood, brass, and metal types from the poster type collection of the HGB’s printmaking workshop. Most of them stem from roughly the same era when Leiner printed his posters. This was before typefaces had proper names; they go under generic designations like “Egyptienne” etc. We haven’t tracked down and listed them here, since the focus of this article lies on the book. If you’re really curious, we might consider a follow-up post.




Source: https://panefarre.com Pierre Pané-Farré. License: All Rights Reserved.

The forme used for printing the posters.


Pierre Pané-Farré studied at the HGB Leipzig in the class for type design of Stephan Müller and Fred Smeijers and graduated in 2012. From 2013 to 2016 he was a master student with Smeijers. Soirée Fantastique was Pané-Farre’s final project at the HGB. In 2014 he co-curated Vom Buch auf die Straße, an exhibition at the Printing Museum Leipzig about large letterforms of all kinds. His research on early 19th-century poster typefaces was published on the Forgotten Shapes website, see Affichen-Schriften.

Disclaimer: The author of this article is a board member of the society that organizes the Walter Tiemann Prize. In 2018, he had the honor to serve on the jury for the Best Book Design from all over the World. Florian provided the English translation of the articles by Forgotten Shapes.

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Contributed by Florian Hardwig

















Source: https://www.kickstarter.com © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Known as the Bolted Book because of its signature binding using two industrial bolts, Depero Futurista was conceived as a showcase and “portable museum” for the work of Italian Futurist artist Fortunato Depero (1892–1960). Written and designed by Depero, it was published in 1927 and dubbed “a typographical racing car” by Futurism’s founder, F.T. Marinetti. Today it’s recognized as the first modern-day artist’s book.

Designers & Books, in collaboration with the Center for Italian Modern Art and
Mart, is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to print a facsimile edition. If you’re interested in getting your hands on a replica of this “avant-garde masterpiece” (MoMA), don’t hesitate: There are only a few days left to support the project and secure a copy.



Source: https://www.boltedbook.com Jason Burch. © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 11 announces the launch of the Futurist art gallery Dinamo-Azari. “Written by publisher Fedele Azari, it describes Depero Futurista as “MECHANICAL: bolted like an engine,” warns it is “DANGEROUS: can be used as a projectile,” and declares it is “UNCLASSIFIABLE: cannot be placed alongside other books in the library.” — from the page by page annotations, edited by Russell Fernandez with assistance from Raffaele Bedarida, based on the original research done by Gianluca Camillini.


In this article, we’ll take a look at the fonts that Depero used. For more information about the artist and the book’s rich content, make sure to visit the dedicated website, boltedbook.com. Depero Futurista has 240 pages, 146 of them with text or images, many of which are purely typographic. I’ve examined ten sample pages which are reproduced below. On these pages, about 20 typefaces from 16 families are used. There are a few other typefaces that were used elsewhere in the book, but the vast majority was typeset in the fonts identified here.

One finding that may or may not come as a surprise is the stylistic diversity. At times, it seems as if Depero used all the fonts that were available at the print shop. There are several different romans and italics, a fat face, grotesks from narrow to wide and in various weights, italic sans serif, and two compressed advertising faces. Depero definitely showed less restraint than his fellow countryman Massimo Vignelli. He rather followed László Moholy-Nagy’s lead, who wrote in “The New Typography” from 1923:

We use all typefaces, type sizes, geometric forms, colors, etc. We want to create a new language of typography whose elasticity, variability; and freshness of typographical composition is exclusively dictated by the inner law of expression and the optical effect.

Some of the faces are relatively nondescript, like the old style Archiv-Antiqua, Depero’s primary choice for small body copy, or the various plain grotesks including Schelter & Giesecke’s @typeentity:95986@ and members of the @typeentity:7591@ series (nondescript at least to today’s eyes). Others are stronger flavored, like Lucian Bernhard’s eponymous roman with its handdrawn-looking contours and its jolly, almost cartoonish look, or Sezessions-Grotesk, an austere monolinear Art Nouveau sans by Julius Klinkhardt. A remarkable number of the featured typeface designs originated north of the Alps, at foundries in Leipzig, Frankfurt, Offenbach, or Berlin, which hints at the dominant role that the German type industry, next to the British and French, must have played in the early 20th century, not only in Italy, but in many neighboring countries and beyond.



Source: https://www.kickstarter.com © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 53, featuring lines in all caps, set on various angles, in seven fonts: Modena AKA Sansone (AKA Poppelbaum’s Schmale Block?) in two sizes (“Architetto”, “Arazzi”), Bernhard-Antiqua fett (“Teatro Magico”), Romanisch halbfett (“Glorie Plastiche”), and Schmale Etienne (“Motorumorismo Plastico”. The grotesks used for “Depero” and “pittore” are unidentified. The former might be Schelter & Giesecke’s Schmale fette Steinschrift.


One of the most extensively used faces is a narrow sans with soft corners, similar to Berthold’s Block. It appears on at least 55 pages of the book. This typeface was sold by Fondografica in Turin as Modena and by Reggiani in Milano as Sansone. I’m pretty sure it’s identical to Schmale Block, shown in Seemann’s Handbuch der Schriftarten as an in-house design by the Poppelbaum foundry in Vienna, Austria from 1920. I still need to confirm this assumption, though – thanks to Dan Reynolds who has pointed me to a specimen that might have the answer and which I will consult soon.

The lettering on the cover gives us an idea of what genuinely futurist letterforms look like, according to Depero: elementary, constructed, unconventional, edgy. This attitude is echoed in the typeface choices only to little extent. It was not important to (or feasible for?) Depero to use new, forward-looking typeface designs. Modena AKA Sansone AKA Schmale Block might be the only one from after World War I, released seven years before the book was printed. All the other faces are older – Bernhard-Antiqua fett is from 1911, Aurora-Grotesk from the 1910s, Archiv-Antiqua from 1908, Lukrativ and Mignon from 1906, @typeentity:46844@ from c. 1905, Schmale Herold from 1904 – or much older: (the precursors of) @typeentity:8629@, @typeentity:31951@, Schelter & Giesecke’s @typeentity:95986@, and @typeentity:40722@ stem from the 19th century. Romanische Antiqua (or Anker-Romanisch) halbfett was issued by Schelter & Giesecke in 1895 (Grimoldi in Turin later carried the same design as Padova). Several of these faces feel downright dated, and must have smelled weird already in 1927. They’re certainly not what one would commonly expect to see in a Futurist publication.

What makes Depero’s book so seminal are not the fonts, but the imaginative arrangements. He skilfully plays with contrasting sizes and weights, column shapes, white space, orientation, and text as image. His dynamic layouts are all the more awe-inspiring when one brings to mind that this was done over 90 years ago, long before type was liberated from physical constraints, first by photographic and later digital means. Each of the pages had to be manually composed from hundreds of little pieces of metal type, and firmly locked up in a forme before it could go to print. This was already a laborious process for standard layouts, but truly challenging when diagonal, circular, or otherwise non-rectangular settings were involved. The revolution is not in the typefaces, but in the typography.



Source: https://www.kickstarter.com © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 57 is the first in a series of typographic compositions Depero refers to as manifesti murali, or wall manifestos. [Fernandez] The arrow-shaped text is set in three sizes of Bernhard-Antiqua fett. The clumsy grotesk for “necessità di auto-rèclame” (“the need for self-promotion”) is unidentified.




Source: https://www.kickstarter.com © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 61. “Designed to be read by rotating the page, this wall manifesto describes the Futurist approach to sculpture and the other plastic arts. Depero also celebrates Futurism as the culmination of the previous two movements, Impressionism and Cubism.” [Fernandez] Headlines in uppercase Bernhard-Antiqua fett, text in Archiv-Antiqua mager and halbfett (1908). All lines in the “Futurist quarter” are underlined. Note the nonchalant way of filling up the remaining space by repeating “ecc.” (etc.) 17 times.




Source: https://www.kickstarter.com © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 65, “Il Futurismo immortale” (The Immortal Futurism). Romanisch halbfett is paired with Bernhard-Antiqua fett. The bold wide grotesk for “Marinetti” is unidentified (see also page 89).




Source: https://www.boltedbook.com Jason Burch. © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 67, “racconto grafico” (graphical tale). “This wall manifesto is an open letter to the Italian Minister of Education about the importance of visual literacy and of encouraging children to express themselves visually in all spontaneity and freedom.” [Fernandez] Deporo wasn’t shy of setting a whole page in italics. This decision here might have been made because it’s a letter, as a (distant) reference to handwriting. The big lowercase letters are from a late 19th-century fat italic that today is probably best known as Old Gothic Bold Italic. It went by numerous names incl. Fette Kursiv-Grotesk and Doric Italic. The Italian foundries Nebiolo and FTC had a version named Etrusco corsivo nerissimo which is shown in mid-20th century specimens with a different r (with diagonal terminal). The text face matches Mignon (1906), except for the S. Maybe it’s an alternate, maybe it’s a modification made in the version that was available from Società Augusta as Fulgens (before 1914). The German origin is still visible in the ch ligatures. Two sizes of Bernhard-Kursiv fett are used for emphasis.




Source: https://www.boltedbook.com Jason Burch. © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 75, “il nuovo fantastico” (the fantastic new), in (not so new) Schmale Herold (1904). The compressed advertising face was sold by Fondografica as Lodi and by Reggiani as Licia. This page also features the similarly compressed Lukrativ (c. 1906) for “meccanici” as well as Schmale Block in at least five sizes.




Source: https://www.boltedbook.com Jason Burch. © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 87, “Plastic Glories”. In addition to @typeentity:46844@ (bottom two lines) and @typeentity:7591@ VII (“Gloria Plastica”, see p.89), there are two more grotesks in use. Most of the text is set in @typeentity:95986@. This face by Schelter & Giesecke was avaiable from the local foundry Reggiani as Eia. The big compressed sans is unidentified, and probably wood type.




Source: https://www.kickstarter.com © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 89 opens a ten-page section devoted to Depero’s architectural work. [Fernandez] The text face again is Archiv-Antiqua (with halbfett for emphasis). The lines that form the A’s crossbar are set in Schmale Block and @typeentity:8629@ (or a similar fat face). “Martellatori-Macchina” looks like the wide sans that was sold by Weber as @typeentity:7591@ VII breithalbfett (and by L. Wagner as @typeentity:32145@, etc.). “Glorie plastiche e villaggio futurista” is in Aurora-Grotesk II halbfett (1912). Nebiolo had the latter under the name Cairoli tonda neretta, but it’s not clear whether their version was released before 1928. The big stacked caps (“architettura publicitaria”) are only similar to this series. They are heavier than Aurora’s VII cut and lighter than the V (in Italy available as Etruria from FTC), and are distinguished by a very small aperture in C and a short middle arm in E.




Source: https://www.boltedbook.com Jason Burch. © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 101 has quotations by Futurist painter and sculptor Umberto Boccioni (1882–1916) and Depero himself, printed in orange. The fonts in use are Schmale Block and three sizes of @typeentity:46844@, with several descending alternates for c and e. The latter was also available from Italian foundries Società Augusta (as Melpomene, before 1914) and Fondografica (as Como).




Source: https://www.boltedbook.com Jason Burch. © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome. License: All Rights Reserved.

Page 113 repeats the dedication to Marinetti that already appeared on page 13. “‘I set off this futurist creation as a sign of celebration for F. T. Marinetti.’ The letter W in the center of the composition is an Italian abbreviation of the words ‘long live’ as in ‘Long live Marinetti.’ It appears on numerous pages throughout Depero Futurista.” [Fernandez] The fonts used on this page include four sizes of Schmale Block, Lukrativ (“temporale-patriottico”), and Schmale Etienne (“cuore-bombarda”).


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Contributed by Florian Hardwig






Source: https://theprodigy.info theprodigy.info. License: All Rights Reserved.

Cover design by Alex Jenkins, with art direction by Liam Howlett. Photography by Konrad Wothe, Silvestris.


In 1996, The Prodigy introduced a new band logo. The first logo from 1991 was loosely based on @typeentity:4336@, redrawn and with a heavy outline added. It appeared flat on the debut album Experience (1992), and, from 1993 on, in a distorted variant that was also featured on the cover of the second album Music For The Jilted Generation (1994).



Source: https://de.wikipedia.org License: All Rights Reserved.

In the new logo, the article was dropped from the name. Enclosed in a cartouche and supplemented by a stylized ant, “Prodigy” was now rendered white on black, in outlined lowercase letters from @typeentity:2022@, a quintessential 1990s typeface with highly idiosyncratic forms, designed by Jeffery Keedy and released by Emigre in 1991. The logo was used for their third studio album from 1997 as well as the preceding single releases.



Source: https://www.discogs.com Discogs. License: All Rights Reserved.

“Firestarter” was released on 18 March 1996. It became the group’s first number-one single on the UK Singles Chart. Photography by Colin Hawkins. Keedy Sans is also used for the title, again in all lowercase letters in a cartouche.




Source: https://theprodigy.info theprodigy.info. License: All Rights Reserved.

“Breathe” was released in November 1996 as the second single. Photography by Mary Farbrother. The title is in an eroded version of @typeentity:1591@ No. 2.


The Fat of the Land came out on 30 June 1997 by XL Recordings in the UK and on 1 July 1997 by Maverick Records in the US. It reached number 1 in 22 countries in the first week. In 1999, the album entered the Guinness World Records as the fastest-selling UK dance album. As of 2019, it has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

In 1996, I travelled to Belgium for Rock Werchter. I came to see Beck and the Smashing Pumpkins play, but stayed for The Prodigy. I hadn’t been much into electronic music before, but their performance (and also the ones by The Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk) changed that for good. A year later, I had the chance to see them again at V97 in Leeds. This was a mindblowing and an unforgettable experience. From mea95dad’s report:

It was a highly impressive bill of bands that came together in the grounds of Temple Newsam stately home on August 16th as one half of the V97 festival. […] It’s been known for a long time that the Prodigy are the most vigorous and electrifying live act around today, but even by their standards tonight’s show was an absolute blinder. […] The greatest thing was the sheer volume of the effect. Instead of the usual pocket of fans going mental in front of the stage the feeling this time spread out, making people about 100 yards back from the stage move and dance along, whether they knew it or not. An incredible experience, and strangely tranquil, in spite of the volume. Keith and Maxim were giving it the usual manic display while blondie Liam went quietly bonkers inside his 3 or 4 walls of technology.

Here’s some footage from the gig at the twin festival in Chelmsford the day after. Breathe the pressure / Come play my game I’ll test ya / Psychosomatic addict insane. In my memory, it was a lot louder.

RIP Keith Flint.



Source: https://theprodigy.info theprodigy.info. License: All Rights Reserved.

French ad announcing the album release on 30 June




Source: https://theprodigy.info theprodigy.info. License: All Rights Reserved.

Announcement by Belgian record company PIAS. The heavy sans serif caps that also appeared on the album cover are from the fattest member of @typeentity:1160@, the 85 Extra Black.




Source: https://theprodigy.info theprodigy.info. License: All Rights Reserved.

“Originally, the cover was going to be a doner kebab being roasted on a stick and branded with the name of the album. XL designer Alex Jenkins shot the image, then Howlett changed his mind at the last moment, forcing Jenkins to source the dancing crab photo, which he faxed to Howlett to approve. The claw was increased in size, making it look like the crab is sticking two fingers up to the world.” — theprodigy.info


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Contributed by Florian Hardwig







Source: https://www.instagram.com Poster design: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Christopher Dresser for Hukin & Heath, spoon warmer, 1880. Photo: Martin Adam.




Source: https://www.instagram.com Poster design: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Marcel Breuer/Thonet, B25 armchair with reclining backrest (“Sitzmaschine”), 1928/1929. Collection Gerald Fingerle.


Most posters in Berlin’s urban space unfortunately aren’t worth a long look. When a poster in the subway for once succeeds to catch my eye, chances are pretty high that it’s one by Gerwin Schmidt. The accomplished designer from Munich has been responsible for the posters by the Bröhan-Museum for several years now, and he always manages to come up with something surprising. His work for the museum doesn’t adhere to a fixed corporate design. He uses all kinds of typefaces, in playful arrangements, sometimes involving stretched letterforms, perspective effects and other imaginative treatments that dogmatists would frown upon.



Source: https://www.instagram.com Photo: Sylvia Hinz. License: All Rights Reserved.

The third poster from the series, on display in front of the museum. It depicts Gerrit Thomas Rietveld’s toy barrow, c. 1920. Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Object photo: Thomas Goldschmidt.


The current exhibition that’s on display at this museum “for art nouveau, art deco, and functionalism” is titled “From Arts and Crafts to the Bauhaus. Art and Design – A New Unity!

To mark the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, the exhibition at Bröhan-Museum will explore the prehistory of the Bauhaus and contextualize it within the Europe-wide emergence of modernism. It will show decisive steps in this development including the Glasgow School, Vienna Jugendstil, Deutscher Werkbund, and the Dutch group De Stijl leading up to the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau. With around 300 highlights—furniture, graphic design, metal art, ceramics, painting—from fifty years of design history, the exhibition will seek to explain this pan-European discourse on design.

For the poster series to this show, Schmidt did a literal typographic interpretation of its title and theme. Each of the three key terms is rendered in a typeface that immediately evokes the corresponding style and spirit. Schmidt explains:

“About two thirds of the exhibits are from the period before the Bauhaus, so it would have been inappropriate to use a Bauhaus-like font for everything. On the other hand, using a Jugendstil typeface for the word “Bauhaus” would have looked odd, too. Hence the mix.”



Source: https://www.instagram.com Poster design: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Richard Riemerschmid, table, 1899. Alternative poster design (unused).




Source: https://www.instagram.com Poster design: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Archibald Knox (1864–1933), table clock. Alternative poster design (unused).


“Arts” is set in @typeentity:5265@. Made by James Grieshaber and Richard Kegler in 1995, this font family is a digital interpretation of Dard Hunter’s lettering as used for Roycroft books and periodicals between 1900 and 1910. With its square shapes and curved diagonals, it takes cues from works by members of the Vienna Secession.

For “Crafts”, Schmidt chose Bernhard Bold Condensed AKA Bernhard Antique, which today is the most prominent member of @typeentity:7239@. This typeface family was originally cut by Louis Hoell after drawings by Lucian Bernhard. Based on the handmade letters for his famous Sachplakat posters, it’s distinguished by wobbly contours. Bernhard-Antiqua schmalfett was first cast by the Flinsch type foundry in Frankfurt/Main in 1912.

“Bauhaus” features the iconic single case Universal-Alfabet drawn by Herbert Bayer at the Bauhaus school in c. 1926. In 1997, Bayer’s final, bolder variant of the geometrically constructed letterforms was made into a digital font by Denis and Richard Kegler and released as @typeentity:5272@, which is used here.



Source: https://www.instagram.com Image: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

A peek into the process: preliminary sketches by Gerwin Schmidt. He eventually settled on the most effective layout, with the type at the top, in stacked and staggered black boxes, and a photograph of a single object underneath. A series of three posters was selected for print.




Source: https://www.instagram.com Photo: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

The cover design of the exhibition catalog picks up the typographic lockup used for the posters. The book was designed by Gerwin Schmidt together with Philipp von Keisenberg.




Source: https://www.instagram.com Image: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Announcement card, October 2018. This first application features the most direct graphic translation of the title, with the focus on the arrow that leads from Arts and Craft to the Bauhaus. The smaller type is in Luigi, a private font designed by Timo Thurner. Among retail fonts, Michael Doret’s @typeentity:139@ Condensed probably comes closest.


The exhibition was curated by Dr. Tobias Hoffmann and Dr. Anna Grosskopf, and designed by Katleen Arthen. It is shown until 5 May 2019. Find more information on the website of the Bröhan-Museum.

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Contributed by Florian Hardwig







Source: https://www.instagram.com Poster design: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Christopher Dresser for Hukin & Heath, spoon warmer, 1880. Photo: Martin Adam.




Source: https://www.instagram.com Poster design: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Marcel Breuer/Thonet, B25 armchair with reclining backrest (“Sitzmaschine”), 1928/1929. Collection Gerald Fingerle.


Most posters in Berlin’s urban space unfortunately aren’t worth a long look. When a poster in the subway for once succeeds to catch my eye, chances are pretty high that it’s one by Gerwin Schmidt. The accomplished designer from Munich has been responsible for the posters by the Bröhan-Museum for several years now, and he always manages to come up with something surprising. His work for the museum doesn’t adhere to a fixed corporate design. He uses all kinds of typefaces, in playful arrangements, sometimes involving stretched letterforms, perspective effects and other imaginative treatments that dogmatists would frown upon.



Source: https://www.instagram.com Photo: Sylvia Hinz. License: All Rights Reserved.

The third poster from the series, on display in front of the museum. It depicts Gerrit Thomas Rietveld’s toy barrow, c. 1920. Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Object photo: Thomas Goldschmidt.


The current exhibition that’s on display until 5 May 2019 is titled “From Arts and Crafts to the Bauhaus. Art and Design – A New Unity!

To mark the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, the exhibition at Bröhan-Museum will explore the prehistory of the Bauhaus and contextualize it within the Europe-wide emergence of modernism. It will show decisive steps in this development including the Glasgow School, Vienna Jugendstil, Deutscher Werkbund, and the Dutch group De Stijl leading up to the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau. With around 300 highlights—furniture, graphic design, metal art, ceramics, painting—from fifty years of design history, the exhibition will seek to explain this pan-European discourse on design.

For the poster series to this show, Schmidt did a literal typographic interpretation of its title and theme. Each of the three key terms is rendered in a typeface that immediately evokes the corresponding style and spirit. Schmidt explains:

“About two thirds of the exhibits are from the period before the Bauhaus, so it would have been inappropriate to use a Bauhaus-like font for everything. On the other hand, using a Jugendstil typeface for the word “Bauhaus” would have looked odd, too. Hence the mix.”



Source: https://www.instagram.com Poster design: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Richard Riemerschmid, table, 1899. Alternative poster design (unused).




Source: https://www.instagram.com Poster design: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Archibald Knox (1864–1933), table clock. Alternative poster design (unused).


“Arts” is set in @typeentity:5265@. Made by James Grieshaber and Richard Kegler in 1995, this font family is a digital interpretation of Dard Hunter’s lettering as used for Roycroft books and periodicals between 1900 and 1910. With its square shapes and curved diagonals, it takes cues from works by members of the Vienna Secession.

For “Crafts”, Schmidt chose Bernhard Bold Condensed AKA Bernhard Antique, which today is the most prominent member of @typeentity:7239@. This typeface family was originally cut by Louis Hoell after drawings by Lucian Bernhard. Based on the handmade letters for his famous Sachplakat posters, it’s distinguished by wobbly contours. Bernhard-Antiqua schmalfett was first cast by the Flinsch type foundry in Frankfurt/Main in 1912.

“Bauhaus” features the iconic single case Universal-Alfabet drawn by Herbert Bayer at the Bauhaus school in c. 1926. In 1997, Bayer’s final, bolder variant of the geometrically constructed letterforms was made into a digital font by Denis and Richard Kegler and released as @typeentity:5272@, which is used here.



Source: https://www.instagram.com Image: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

A peek into the process: preliminary sketches by Gerwin Schmidt. He eventually settled on the most effective layout, with the type at the top, in stacked and staggered black boxes, and a photograph of a single object underneath. A series of three posters was selected for print.




Source: https://www.instagram.com Photo: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

The cover design of the exhibition catalog picks up the typographic lockup used for the posters. The book was designed by Gerwin Schmidt together with Philipp von Keisenberg.




Source: https://www.instagram.com Image: Gerwin Schmidt. License: All Rights Reserved.

Announcement card, October 2018. This first application features the most direct graphic translation of the title, with the focus on the arrow that leads from Arts and Craft to the Bauhaus. The smaller type is in Luigi, a private font designed by Timo Thurner. Among retail fonts, Michael Doret’s @typeentity:139@ Condensed probably comes closest.


The exhibition was curated by Dr. Tobias Hoffmann and Dr. Anna Grosskopf, and designed by Katleen Arthen. Find more information on the website of the Bröhan-Museum.

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Contributed by Florian Hardwig











Source: http://zefys.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de Scan: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. License: All Rights Reserved.

Die rote Fahne, Nr. 1 from 9 November 1918.


On this day in 1919, one hundred years ago, German socialist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were tortured and murdered by the Freikorps at the end of the Spartacist uprising.

This post takes a look at the typefaces used in Die Rote Fahne (“The Red Flag”), the newspaper founded by Luxemburg, Liebknecht and others. The first issue was published on 9 November 1918, on the day that Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and Liebknecht proclaimed the German Free Socialist Republic. Revolutionary workers had occupied the editorial office of the conservative Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger on Zimmerstraße 35-44. Their leader, Spartacist Hermann Duncker, announced to the journalists at work:

“Gentlemen, the page has turned. Your pages must turn too! You understand that a victorious revolution will not suffer a counter-revolutionary press.” [100 Years of Revolution]

The paper was now published under the title Die rote Fahne, in this first issue still largely using the ready-to-print composition of the Lokal-Anzeiger—and the same fonts, of course. The headline (“Berlin under the red flag”) is in König-Type schmal fett. The deck (“Police headquarters stormed.—650 prisoners released.—Red flags at the castle”) uses a Fette Fraktur. Both typefaces had been used by the Lokal-Anzeiger at least since 1910. For the new nameplate, the revolutionists decided on Eckmann-Schrift. Was it for its winding Jugendstil F that looks like a blowing flag? Or maybe because it was the only type available at the press in a big enough size? The line below, “Ehemaliger Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger — 2. Abend-Ausgabe”, features @typeentity:954@. The small type used for “Preis” and “Pfennig” in the top right corner looks like @typeentity:32688@.



Source: http://www.klingspor-museum.de Scan: Hans Reichardt for Klingspor Museum. License: All Rights Reserved.

Detail from Berthold’s specimen Nr. 278 showing the bold condensed member of the König-Type family designed by Heinz König and issued by the Emil Gursch foundry in Berlin-Kreuzberg in 1907–1910.


Of the two proclamations of a republic on 9 November, the one by Philipp Scheidemann was successful, and the Social Democrats emerged victorious. The Spartacist occupants were evicted from the office by troops loyal to the government two days later, but Die Rote Fahne continued publication, as the central organ first of the Spartacus League and, from 1 January 1919, of the newly founded KPD, the Communist Party of Germany. “Zentralorgan der Kommunistischen Partei Deutschlands — Spartakusbund” is set in @typeentity:38700@. The nameplate (now spelled with a capital R) uses a display cut of the same face.



Source: http://zefys.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de Scan: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. License: All Rights Reserved.

Die Rote Fahne, Nr. 16 from 16 January 1919.


In the issue from 16 January 1919, the editorial staff addresses their readership with a big headline in the schmal halbfett style of @typeentity:32533@: “An unsere Leser!” The Spartacist uprising had been crushed, and more than 150 insurgents killed. The day before, the bigger part of the print run of Die Rote Fahne had been seized, and the office occupied by soldiers. Some journalists were arrested while others managed to go into hiding. The remaining staff members accused the counterrevolutionaries:

Following the physical murder, the “socialist” government of blood-stained Ebert-Scheidemann goes on to assassinate the spirit of the revolution, depriving it of its organ, ... its advertising and weaponry.

At that time the issue went to print, the editors Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, whose names are listed in the center of the masthead, had already been murdered.



Scan: Hans Reichardt for Klingspor Museum. License: All Rights Reserved.

Detail from Berthold’s specimen Nr. 278 showing Mainzer Fraktur fett. This face probably originated at the Stuttgart-based foundry Bauer & Co., which was acquired by the H. Berthold AG in 1897. It was issued in 1901, “initiating the new movement in the creation of Fraktur types” — Friedrich Bauer.


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Contributed by Florian Hardwig


Source: https://www.itsnicethat.com Malcolm Garrett. License: All Rights Reserved.

“Love Battery” poster, 1977




Released in autumn 1977, “Orgasm Addict” was the first single by punk band Buzzcocks, following their debut EP Spiral Scratch. It also marked the first appearance of the band’s logo in its final form. A proto-version had been featured on a promotional poster designed by 21-year-old Malcolm Garrett, then in his second year at Manchester Poly.

“It was my first piece of professional work, and my first thing for Buzzcocks, which led to a relationship that continues to this day. People don’t really know the story of that original poster. I screen printed it by hand, in college. I was listening to Buzzcocks lyrics and this song Love Battery, from the first album, stood out.” — Malcolm Garrett, It’s Nice That

Over on BandLogoJukeBox, Jim K Davies has a detailed account of how the logo came to life:

[Garrett had] used the largest sized Compacta Regular Italic Letraset he could find, rubbed down the relevant letters, photographed them, printed them onto bromide paper, sliced them down the middle, stuck them down on board, and inked in the gap in Rotring pen. “It was a bit tricky, particularly to get the typeface thin enough,” he recalls.

But he wasn’t quite happy with this early incarnation. “I felt the spacing around the Zs wasn’t quite right, so I modified them,” he recalls. The new and improved logo duly took pride of place in the bottom right corner of ‘Orgasm Addict’ — in a dark blue, running on the vertical. Its forward-slanting letterforms give it a sense of attack, the outside Z’s a jagged punky edge. It was accompanied by a striking montage of an iron-headed woman created by Linder. The iron came from an Argos catalogue, while the female torso was lifted from a ‘top shelf’ magazine.

The logo with the nested double Z would appear on virtually all subsequent releases, in various forms including hand-painted and angular interpretations, and stayed in use until this day.




License: All Rights Reserved.

Detail of a Letraset “instant lettering” sheet with (upright) Compacta in 144pt. The largest available size for Compacta Italic was 72pt, according to a catalog from 1990.




Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

This comparison shows unmodified Compacta Italic (resetting using the digital version by Bitstream) next to the Buzzcocks logo as it’s featured on the “Orgasm Addict” sleeve. See also the Soundgarden mark for another band logo with selectively elongated letterforms.




Source: https://www.flickr.com Bart Solenthaler. License: All Rights Reserved.

“Orgasm Addict”, United Artists Records, 1977.




Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

The rounded sans-serif caps used for the song title are probably not made with dry-transfer type, or any other type. They rather resemble the letterforms found in templates available for pantographic scribing devices like Keuffel & Esser’s Leroy. The image shows the related Stano-Script by Standardgraph. See also “From Lettering Guides to CNC Plotters ”— A Brief History of Technical Lettering Tools”. Oscar & Ewan’s Leroy (Colophon, 2012) is a digital font family based on a similar lettering template.




Source: https://www.flickr.com Klaus Hiltscher. License: All Rights Reserved.

Back cover. The title of the B-side, “Whatever Happened to?”, is rendered in caps from Rockwell Light, another face that was available as rub-down type from Letraset. This, however, is metal Rockwell, see the comments below.




Source: https://www.flickr.com Klaus Hiltscher. License: All Rights Reserved.

7″ record with small print on the label in @typeentity:1160@.




Source: https://buzzcocks.squarespace.com License: All Rights Reserved.

The logo as it appears on nine studio albums released between 1978 and 2014, including sliced and sprayed variants.




Source: https://www.flickr.com Marcus Kamps. License: All Rights Reserved.

An outlined version of the logo, used as stage decoration at a Buzzcocks concert in 2010.




Source: https://twitter.com Malcolm Garrett. License: All Rights Reserved.

Pinback button posted by Malcolm Garrett to commemorate Buzzcocks singer Pete Shelley, 1955–2018.


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