The MODERN BLACKLETTER

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Hannah's picture
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Joined: 26 May 2006 - 11:58pm
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Wow! All your comments guys are great, and a rich source information.

YARONIMUS-MAXIMUS
Thanks heaps for your comments on blackletter. The notion of cleaning blackletter or bringing a positive light (away from the traditional, alternative subcultures, nazi's etc) is exactly what i'm wanting to do!

Question (to all): Would you agree that blackletter has not been the same since WW2 and there after?

(There is so much to comment on...I will gather my thoughts and post again)

ANOTHER Question (to all): What are your views specifically on the blackletter letterforms and their structure? Even if you love blackletter, is there anything that doesn't sit right for you in the modern context of today?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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In its richness, blackletter is against the
dominant contemporary power: Modernism.

hhp

Hannah's picture
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Joined: 26 May 2006 - 11:58pm
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Could that link back to how in Germany and other countries there is the immergence of typographers/designers who are experimenting with the blackletter form as something different to the typical of our contemporary culture - namely thinking of the contemporary sans serif.

isaac's picture
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Joined: 21 Oct 2002 - 11:00pm
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>>Children start with no prejudices.
>parents won’t buy the book (in 2006)…

I'd buy it.

I think Hrant's observations about the divergence of forms (on his website) helping recognition is what makes blackletter attractive. Or at least it makes me curious about what new ways type designers might look at it. And now his comment about modernism has got me thinking too.

Thomas Binder's picture
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Joined: 13 Jan 2006 - 9:04am
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@Hannah
Have a look at this "blackletter"/sans-experiment, what do you think about it?
http://www.slanted.de/812

Tim Daly's picture
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Hannah's picture
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>poms

That is a very interesting and unique modernised blackletter.
Definitely here it has been used as a display font, but I can't tell if it has been used for the text titles?
They are kind of awkward shapes yet they still seem to work well together, perhaps because I'm not used to seeing this kind of display font.
The numbers I like the best. Their rounded edges remind me alot of the bauhaus below.

The designer has taken the broken and angled characteristics of blackletter and made a feature out of them in this typeface. I really like the idea of doing it that way, makes it a bit simpler anyway. I wonder what inspired them?

Placing the blackletter with the pink (contemporary use of colour) also makes it more modern and friendly.

They are still quite quirky letterforms however, and perhaps that's something of blackletter that will always be seen when made today? Maybe?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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You just reminded me of a very interesting "unintended" blackletter that has made it into the mainstream: the Yellow font of the recently redesigned British telephone directories, by Jurgen Weltin - here's a sample:

He incorporated those "shears" into the curves as a way to implement trapping stylishly, but until people (including myself and at least one other person) pointed it out he didn't realize that he was giving the font a blackletter feel! And it's quite interesting that Weltin is German...

hhp

Hannah's picture
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Joined: 26 May 2006 - 11:58pm
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yes, that is really an abstract version of blackletter, perhaps its extreme.

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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Palatino's letters (especially the lowercase n) have that shear in them. Its a chirographic trait.

The old metal Palatino S always felt a bit blackletter to me… the middle curve wasn't smooth them, but bumped back up before it rounded down.

Yaronimus Maximus's picture
Joined: 11 Sep 2005 - 12:38am
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those examples pwople have shown here, that's postmodernism in it's best. this thread surprises me more and more.

Hannah's picture
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Joined: 26 May 2006 - 11:58pm
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From the 16th Century through till the end of World War Two, the German blackletter was Germany's national typeface. In the original creation of blackletter, the letter forms were a romantic symbolism of light over darkness; the heavenly and eternal presence.

>Is it possible to restore the symbolic value of the blackletter?

Chase J Goitia's picture
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Joined: 12 Apr 2004 - 11:14pm
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I think there's movement towards acceptance of blackletter again, even if it occurs through its resemblance to fraktur faces. If you've been following so-called 'urban' graphic and fashion design in the US and UK during the last year, it's en vogue to use intricate graphic silhouettes, often coupled with display type in fraktur and copy in a clean sans face. The visual cues between the illustrations and the type are frequently the angled 'cuts' and the high contrast you speak of.

Of course, the prevalent style is closer to that you identified as contemporary to WW1, but the groundwork is being laid.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> Its a chirographic trait.

It's an artefact of chirography, but it could be many other things too,
and you don't need to be thinking chirographically in implementing it.
The same with many other things, like stroke contrast. Legato has it, but
certainly not because Evert was a fan of chirography - quite the opposite.

hhp

Thomas Binder's picture
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Joined: 13 Jan 2006 - 9:04am
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@"yellow"
I think the "shears" can enhance the formcontrast of the single letterform, maybe that's why Jürgen Weltin did that here. And furthermore it can increase the "dynamic impression". Quite interesting example.

Hannah's picture
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Joined: 26 May 2006 - 11:58pm
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Hey everyone,
This is a initial draft of a new 21st century blackletter. Inspired by helvetica and fette fraktur. The letterforms are not refined, but what feel do you get from the overall aesthetic of the typeface?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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I think you should refine it a little bit more and put it in the crit section.

hhp

Carl Crossgrove's picture
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Joined: 8 Sep 2003 - 2:07pm
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Hannah,

I rediscovered Tim Ahrens' work, including this revival which may be of interest:

http://justanotherfoundry.com/Lapture/index.htm

Read the text on this page; there's some interesting theory, in additional to the very interesting results.