Our favourite typefaces of 1915

It’s been an exciting year in type; one that saw many technical innovations, company mergers and restructuring, as well as some delightful new font releases which we will surely encounter in printed matter around the world soon.

But let’s start with the biggest loss for our industry in 1915: Georges Peignot, type founder in Paris and one of our greatest type designers — of Grasset, Auriol, or Cochin to name a few — died in battle, only 43 years old. Curious to see how long the foundry will be able to remain independent without its head :/ Another substantial loss was the death of Wilhelm Woellmer’s CEO Siegmund Borchardt. His son Fritz (34) suceeded him at the Berlin foundry.

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Indra Kupferschmid

Preoccupied with topics such as the history of sans-serifs, font rendering, and the classification of typefaces, Indra Kupferschmid is a German typographer, professor at HBKsaar, and traveling activist for the good cause of good type.

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Emperor Maximilian’s New Clothes

maximilian_caps

Rudolf Koch began experimenting with pre-Fraktur letterforms he named ‘Maximilian,’ after Emperor Maximilian, an early benefactor of Gutenberg, during the years preceding World War I. Ultimately these experiments in forms — mainly swashes that occupied awkward white space in an otherwise-orderly block of blackletter in the typesetting of prayer books — led to the creation of Koch’s Maximilian Antiqua. Notably, I could find no evidence that Koch explored opportunities using simple .calt features, but more on that later.

Maximilian
Maximilian

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theoriginalecs

Elizabeth Carey Smith is a design director and type designer based in New York. She is an avid reader, writer, letterer, and rap music listener—whose focus is how letters and words express the most simple and complex aspects of our lives.

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Schmalfette Sensation

Sensation_Ausverkauf

If you judge its look by the sound of its name, Schmalfette Sensation would be the Humpback anglerfish of typefaces. This name makes images of freakishly deformed bizarre caricatures of letters pop up in your head, even if you are used to the crudeness of spoken German.

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Bianca Berning

Bianca Berning is a font engineer with background in civil engineering, communication and typeface design. After completing her MA in typeface design in Reading in 2011 she joined Dalton Maag, a London-based type foundry. She now heads the Skills & Process department, a multidisciplinary team of typeface designers, font engineers and software developers. Bianca and her team are responsible for training and development, knowledge management, and for the implementation of internal standards and the improvement of Dalton Maag’s font development processes.

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Koralle

Koralle

Koralle by Schelter & Giesecke, Leipzig, is a breath of clear fresh air after the surge of gnarly grots and artsy spawn of recent years. Neither totally geometric nor too hyggelig humanist, it combines simplified letterforms — e. g. its signature lowercase a — with traditional proportions for good readability. (What I used to tag as “trans-sans”?)

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Indra Kupferschmid

Preoccupied with topics such as the history of sans-serifs, font rendering, and the classification of typefaces, Indra Kupferschmid is a German typographer, professor at HBKsaar, and traveling activist for the good cause of good type.

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Centaur

centaur1915-1440

You are surely aware of the titling caps that the great Mr. Bruce Rogers has drawn for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (what is that I hear about a logo? No, these were great). It is fantastic news that he decided to add a lowercase: 1915 saw the expansion of the design into a masterful 14-point text face, which was cut by Robert Wiebking (of Goudy fame) and privately cast by Barnhart Brothers & Spindler. The face was first used by Rogers in his recent edition of Maurice de Guérin’s The Centaur, published in just 135 copies by Carl P. Rollins’ Montague Press. (Get it if or while you can, I’m pretty sure this one’s gonna be popular.)

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Nina Stössinger

Type-obsessed designer & overall curious person. Lives near the rainy Dutch beach in Den Haag, where she runs Typologic, her studio for type design, typography, & code.

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Goudy Old Style

The Goudy Type Family Specimen Cover (1927)

Society Section, Forest Hills Gardens Gazette, March 16, 1915, Forest Hills Gardens, New York

About Town with Mrs. H. Puterschein

Frederic Goudy, a local printer and independent designer of typefaces (and a real live-wire!), was recently “discovered” by the powerhouse American Type Founders Company. After gaining recognition for Kennerley Old Style, his classy 1911 custom design for publisher Mitchell Kennerley, Mr. Goudy caught the eye of ATF bigwigs.

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Tamye Riggs

Tamye Riggs is a writer, editor, and designer hopelessly devoted to type and other wonderful things. A content creator for select type foundries and distributors, she is also the Executive Director of the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI).

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Die Mode

Nothing says fashionable like Die Mode
Nothing says “fashionable” like Die Mode!

If you’re a modern bird with a flair for fashion, look no further than Die Mode: a stylish, upright script face with delightful features. Published by the German foundry Ludwig & Mayer, Die Mode is both elegant and casual, with just enough personality to make those victrola dance party invitations feel fancy and jovial. Need to dress up your Callot Soeurs frock with a typeface that matches your modern style? Die Mode has you covered, way below the knee. Uppercase characters spare no details when it comes to curves that say sophisticated and friendly. Because “Fashion Demands Longer Skirts and Waistlines” Die Mode’s connecting lowercase characters gives it a distinctive, flowing style. If Parisian and Phyllis had an eccentric cousin, she’d be Die Mode. Sure, there might be a World War happening, but Die Mode doesn’t care. Inspired by calligraphic traditions in a hot new feathered hat, Die Mode is a fresh take on a new era in post-Belle Époque script type.

Amy Papaelias

Amy is a design educator and type nerd living in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York. She recently co-edited (with Jessica Barness) “Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities”, a special issue of Visible Language journal, (49.3).

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Zilvertype

Zilvertype-scan-1440

I was excited to see a new book face designed by Sjoerd Hendrik de Roos of Lettergieterij Amsterdam (aka Tetterode). We’re all, of course, still reeling from the incredible success of his Hollandsche Mediaeval just a few years ago: That text face (the first one designed by a Dutchman since the days of the great Fleischmann!) is quickly shaping up to be near-ubiquitous in books printed here in the Low Countries.
If you like Hollandsche Mediaeval, you may well enjoy this new face too. And if you don’t — maybe because of its cheerful roundness, its Art Nouveau-like detailing, or simply because IT IS EVERYWHERE — you may be relieved to hear that this face will not follow its predecessor as a bestseller; simply because it’s not for sale. De Roos designed it exclusively for the Hague-based private press De Zilverdistel, working closely with his client, Jean François van Royen.

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Nina Stössinger

Type-obsessed designer & overall curious person. Lives near the rainy Dutch beach in Den Haag, where she runs Typologic, her studio for type design, typography, & code.

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Caslon Openface

Caslon Openface

It’s talked about everywhere — typefaces are expected to be available in large series these days, not just a handful of fonts. The good folks of ATF-division Barnhart Brothers & Spindlers listened and added an open/inline variant to their popular Caslon Series (as others are doing, too). According to BB & S’s marketing material, it’s “light, airy, dainty [blah…] and decidedly French”. This is a fun stretch as almost all of us would think of Caslon as decidedly English. Compared to Caslon’s Inline, Caslon Openface features many totally different letterforms and has a much smaller x-height.

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Indra Kupferschmid

Preoccupied with topics such as the history of sans-serifs, font rendering, and the classification of typefaces, Indra Kupferschmid is a German typographer, professor at HBKsaar, and traveling activist for the good cause of good type.

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Hobo Light

The first styles of Hobo were released by ATF in 1910. There are different theories about why Hobo is called Hobo, one being that it was left behind in the drawers of designer Morris Fuller Benton for so long that the typeface was known as “the old Hobo”. Other people think it was inspired by a Russian cigarette poster where the word ново (new) can be seen at the top. But it appears, the inspiration for Hobo’s letterforms came from a different word on the poster — Чудно. (Read the full story here.)

duchess_tobacco_hobo

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Tânia Raposo

Graphic and type designer. Obsessed with type and books, books about type and all type of books.

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Ella Cursief

The year is 1915 and the typeface is Ella Cursief. While the name might imply that it is intended for the ladies that can’t be true because women do not even have the right to vote yet. Honestly, this is a typeface that simply cannot be pinned down by something so mundane and banal as a stereotype.

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Tiffany Wardle de Sousa

A typographer obsessed with the macro and micro. Living and working in San Jose, California. She earned her MA in the Theory and History of Typography & Graphic Communication at The University of Reading. Active in the type community, Tiffany has written for several design publications, served as a SOTA board member, was one of the original moderators on Typophile, currently a co-admin on TypeDrawers, and is now happy to also be a mom.

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Lady Speaker Sorts

Turns out, it’s never been that hard to find Lady Speakers after all
Turns out, it’s never been that hard to find Lady Speakers after all

Although readily available in recent years, it’s still worth mentioning there was no shortage of Lady Speakers in 1915. Yes, both Large Lady Speakers and Small Lady Speakers were made easily accessible and affordably priced. (Special shoutout to Meghan Arnold and Nina Stössinger for their help with finding this image in the 1912 ATF catalogue).

Amy Papaelias

Amy is a design educator and type nerd living in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York. She recently co-edited (with Jessica Barness) “Critical Making: Design and the Digital Humanities”, a special issue of Visible Language journal, (49.3).

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Bodoni

You know the problem: you set your mind on a typeface and then it’s not available in your size, format, or for the machine you have. 😞 In the case of Bodoni, this just got a little less likely to happen.

Bodoni1
Yum. Fake Small Caps

Card Bodoni for one is the latest style in the expansive ATF Bodoni series. Like virtually everything at ATF, it was drawn by Morris Fuller Benton as an adaption of their standard smash hit to an all-caps titling face (meaning, cast on the full body without descenders). This is especially handy for the setting of forms, cards (duh) and other stationary. A few glyphs like J, Q and punctuation were changed so that they do not reach below the baseline.

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Indra Kupferschmid

Preoccupied with topics such as the history of sans-serifs, font rendering, and the classification of typefaces, Indra Kupferschmid is a German typographer, professor at HBKsaar, and traveling activist for the good cause of good type.

More Posts - Website - Twitter