Dear typophiles, I’m currently writing a university essay on the connection between Blackletter and violent and extreme subcultures. I know that there have been some discussions about the connection to Nazism, and the “The Bormann Decree” of 1941.
My interest is in its general use as a style associated with danger and violence. I want to understand why it has become popular with other subcultures. I know for instance that it is popular among gang members in Los Angeles. (Someone told me that it is fact banned at LA-schools, is that true?)
On the other hand is the said connection to neo Nazism. Two subcultures that are very different, maybe even oppositions, but still equally violent.
I am considering there to be three ways of understanding this:
1) An historic explanation, with its connections to the third reich and “the dark ages”.
2) An aesthetical explanation, in relation to the sharp edges and so on.
3) And finally a “functional” explanation, if you can call it that. Here I’m thinking of the legibility of these typefaces, which make them suitable for secret societies.
Part of my interest in this theme is to maybe be able to say something more general about what makes up and comunicates the “meaning” of a typeface. And how big a part of it is its historical connotations. A huge field of research of course.
As often with social sciences I suspect the explanation to be a combination of the three, but I would very much like to get your opinion on the matter. Are there any aspects of this that I’m missing? I am still quite early in the process, so any suggestions would be of great value. Maybe any of you know of any similar research that could be of interest?