I retain just a reﬂection from my tirade: I’m still curious to know if there’s been some interesting use of Blackletter in Japanese design. From what I get, Japanese get interested in Latin since its forms are bendable and easy to play with, coming up with variations. A friend told me most designers tend to look at the Latin typefaces as fun and exciting for their variety, and for the immediate generic feeling they convey. But what kind of typography did we have in Japan while Europe was the cradle of printing history? And during World War 2? I’d love to hear a Japanese designer on this.
> Japanese get interested in Latin since its forms are bendable 1) The Japanese are interested in Latin (in fact they look up to it) because the US defeated them in WWII. The eﬀect of their capitulation -especially when you consider their erstwhile obsession with Honor- is at the heart of their current mindframe, including matters typographic. 2) To me Japanese seems more bendable than Latin, not least due to its two levels of color. I would guess that Japanese designers are simply more conservative with their own script — and this is typical of virtually all peoples: Anglos for example merrily reform -and even replace- the scripts of other cultures, but they throw monumental hissy-ﬁts when you suggest that Latin could use help. > Europe was the cradle of printing history ? hhp
The Japanese fashion industry is obsessed with blackletter. Check out h.Naoto Blood, where blackletter type becomes a design element on the distressed fabrics of their most out-there designs. Blackletter is used as a signiﬁer of Western exoticism, Victorian-era fetishization of childhood (cf. ref. Japanese “elegant lolita” culture), and spoOoOoky Gothicness. There was a good article about the Gothic Lolita scene, which has been a dominant trend in Tokyo’s Harajuku fashion district for a good ﬁve years now, in the New York Times (unfortunately, it’s disappeared into the archives). Anyone with access to a good Japanese bookstore is encouraged to pick up a copy of Gothic & Lolita Bible to see how this works out in practice. What interests me about this phenomenon is how closely it mirrors the American goth / industrial subculture’s fascination with incorporating Japanese language text into their own designs. The Japanese have created this weird steampunk vision of morbid Victoriana, where Japanese evokes postapocalyptic futurism to the goths. I guess we all yearn for the exotic. Hrant, Japanese is reasonably plastic, but when you’re dealing with ideograms composed of graphemes or radicals, you have to be careful about how you distort the strokes if you want the result to be readable. You have to be pretty sensitive to how Japanese is read before you can start making alterations to forms for aesthetic purposes. I think you’re right that outsiders can have more fun with this than native readers and writers, but they still have to be pretty conversant with the language ﬁrst. It would be interesting to see what people could do with the archaeographic forms or Japanese / Chinese calligraphy, which use forms that are considerably freer in their rendering. Re: black metal, tastes vary. Some of my favorite music is black metal, although John is right in saying that black metal reﬂects deep-seated unease to the point of atavism in its outlook. The original black metal scene was full of neo-Nazis, xenophobes, homophobes, and pretty much every other form of violent European white male thuggery. It’s somewhat hypocritical to admire the music and deplore the ideology, but hey, people still go see Wagner’s operas all the time. And yes, black metal bands love not only blackletter but the extreme plasticity of letterform that blackletter reﬂects: just look at a few black metal band logos, and you’ll see what I mean. It’s strange to me that blackletter doesn’t get used more than it does. Typically it’s used by the bands that are trying to sound more medieval and primitive and less extreme or thrashy, much like you’d expect.
>Yes, SUVs, bigscreen TVs and pizza for every family >is much better. Oh, and Arial for every document. “Cultural identity” is an unquantiﬁable simulacrum. It never means the same thing to any two given people. Your Honor, the Plaintiﬀ’s insistence that I turn down my Norwegian Black Metal music is part of a larger more pervasive systematic assault on my cultural identity.
Forrest, interesting. > It’s somewhat hypocritical to admire the music and deplore the ideology I don’t think so, because anything tangible (like a melody or a shape) has its own life so to speak. — > “Cultural identity” is an unquantiﬁable simulacrum. > It never means the same thing to any two given people. I’m sorry us humans have such unmeasurable and variable emotions, oh alien robot overlord. Since you can’t measure them on your big stick, you must destroy them, certainly. Especially when they interfere with Good Business. Just keep pillaging non-Western museums and I’m sure you’ll get over your -deserved- cultural inferiority complex eventually. hhp
That’s alien robot moderator to you, Hrant. If I cared so much about Good Business, I certainly wouldn’t be here arguing with you. Honestly, “cultural identity” did indeed use to mean something, but that’s less and less these days as a simple consequence of greater freedom and speed of movement, which itself is a consequence of things like literacy and reading. So maybe the push toward legibility and that “readability” thing should be reversed. Neorococo.
> If I cared so much about Good Business, I > certainly wouldn’t be here arguing with you. I wasn’t talking about you, but your owners. You’re not nasty enough to be one of them, but neither are you strong enough to break their hold on you. > “cultural identity” did indeed use to mean something Aaah, the good old days, when people didn’t even ﬁnd out when you tried to exterminate a race. hhp
I haven’t read the whole thread so don’t know if this was mentioned. But Hitler outlawed blackletter a few years into his regime, due to its relatively lower legibility as text. He said, “It’s preposterous to maintain this typeface which gives one a headache simply because of its supposedly Germanic traits.” (In HITLER’S TABLE TALK 1941-44)
An interesting point, John. I do not believe that most ordinary Germans object to blackletter for headlines and subheads (the Frakfurter Allgemeine uses 16pt or so textura subheads in its columns to this day.) There would probably only be widespread irritation if it were used as body text in a book… the usual “man kann das nicht lesen.” And Hrant, I’m trying hard to disagree about the Yiddish idea but can’t. :-) In addition, there were a number of Jewish type designers… I believe Berthold Wolpe was Jewish. He studied under Koch and ﬂed to London in 1935. He designed a blackletter called Sachsenwald-Gotisch. Some more details can be found here. I haven’t been able to locate a specimen. (Perhaps Andreas has one?)
No John, ;-) Its hard for me to get English or American specimen books, like for you folks getting some nice German ones. The NZ black letter debate frustrates me. Its like you cry to the world "No, the earth is not a disc!" - So I hope someday some designers are frustrated by the 1000 reincarnation of a sans serif design and try to made some fusions with blackletters for text faces. It could be interesting. One funny thing to the Castle Wolfenstein game. All posters are fakes. Mostly the spelling was false too. (like Japanese using fake English looking words - "Dinglish" to style trendy things) They should buy some German stamps or postcards from this time to get a real feeling, but who cares.
Lookie here… http://www.bitstream.com/categories/developer/devfonts/game_packs/darkside_set.html http://www.bitstream.com/categories/developer/devfonts/game_packs/dungeon_set.html hhp
Him… the dark side of Bitstream? What does it mean?
Hrant wrote: "Aaah, the good old days, when people didn't even
find out when you tried to exterminate a race."
The "old days" are not fine because there was abuse.
The many "right here, right now" are not fine because there is abuse.
Slash each and every ego and the world is ready for eschaton. But who's going to convince them? And you? And me?
This sounds rather interesting to me:http://www.acjournal.org/holdings/vol5/iss3/special/raskin.htm
But ego is still lurking...
Its obviously funny to read how you guys suggest germans think about their own history. And what they associate with in Germany so called "Fraktur", which is as wrong as "Gotico" in Italy.
With exception of Dan Reynolds:
Have you guys ever been in Germany for more than some days?
On which way did you find your results?
From magazines/newspapers in your country?
Out of personal contacts to germans?
Or from the school books in your countries when you where young?
I'ld really like to know that.
Sometimes when you're too close to something you can't see it clearly.
BTW, your post previous to this one was 15 minutes prior.* Did you really read
and digest all 59 posts (and the links therein) before making your "contribution"?
isn't it a little bit strange to analyze how other members of this forum are reading and writing their comments? This smells a little bit - sorry for that - like a comedy of "Big Brother is Watching You", mh?
You are not forced to read and/or to comment my writings.
Within these few days I joined this forum, I saw you are a very active member. So may be "Sometimes when you’re too close to something you can’t see it clearly." is something to reflect about for yourself?
Please stop to look and comment negativ what I am writing, okay?
I am - seriously - very sorry about my first critique about the table you built. It was a reflex and not very friendly. Its a wonderful table, alright? I like it. Yes, I do.
> is something to reflect about for yourself?
But we happen to be talking about Germany, not Typophile.
You don't have to dislike something I've made for me to point out that you're not being fair by saying that nobody can have any opinion about Germany unless they've lived there (for how long, exactly?) especially when you haven't even bothered to really read this thread. You could even buy a table and I will still say when you're wrong. And you can insult the dignity of fonts by making pictures out of them and I will still say when you're right.
I guess its not on you to tell me, what's right and what's wrong.
After reading the comments and suggestions in this thread I wrote "Its obviously funny to read how you guys suggest germans think about their own history."
That's how I feel it because I am a german.
And I am sure to know a little bit more about Germany and the history of my nation comparing to you guys.
If I am wrong and you are the Master of Typophile - please let me know and I'll leave this forum. Otherwise don't try to push me anymore, okay?
In the spirit of the original question (having to do with the contemporary relationship between Blackletter and violent subculture and only secondarily, nazism), the appearance of the more extreme versions IS aggressive. My own disaffiliation for it has nothing to do with Hitler et al. nor even with its adoption by many that promote (at least in 'fashion' or 'sytle' if not in actual practice) violent imagery, the Snoop posture... err POSTER, being a fine example, but rather with the underlying reason for both... it is an oppressive looking graphic iconography.
as to the comment re: "the classic leftist bad habit of not bothering to match sentiment with commitment or diligence. In other words, the Rule of Thumb wins out over knowing where to stop.", i would love to refute any diss of the left and would here, if its own elemental fatuity did not get in the way of any possible meaning.
and, no, The swastika was NOT relatively obscure before its adoption by NS. This simple figure predates writing in the west by several centuries, was in use by cultures diverse enough to be unaware of each other's existence on every continent on the planet and was still in broad illustrative and decorative use when those asshole appropriated it for their own use.
As a staple of Celtic graphic illustration, I still use it, though not usually the squared off version, which is as ugly as many of the early gothic blackletters.
While I don't associate blackletter with Nazism (or even the NSDAP) at all, it is really silly to assume that others don't. I think that it can also border on the offensive to state that other people's opinions, especially on matters of life, death, interpretation, and even history do not matter or count. Debate people you disagree with, but please do not dismiss their views offhand.
At least in my opinion, I doubt that Judaism as a religion, or modern-day Jews as a group, automatically associate blackletter with violence. Below is an image from the new synagogue in Worms. Worms has a particularly sad history when it comes to Christian–Jewish relations. Jews were slaughtered repeatedly over a millenium there, from the First Crusade (where they were some of the first victims) through to the 1940s. Yet, as you can see on this stone, they clearly don't have a problem with blackletter (or German either…). Maybe they picked this gothic-style lettering because its forms, of all possible Latin variants, match Hebrew the best. This could be a good starting point for Hrant's blackletter history of Yiddish…
Nice example. I'd put it on Flickr too BTW.
What would be great is if Hugo d'Alte (designer of Village's Kaas, which includes a blackletter Hebrew) would design a multilateral Hebrew+Latin typesystem like I've done with Nour&Patria* for Armenian+Latin, but based on blackletter!
OK, here it is:http://www.flickr.com/photos/typeoff/282095897
Here is the set with all my photos from Worms, including some from the cemetery:http://www.flickr.com/photos/typeoff/sets/72157594349598159/
Dan, that's Hebrew, not Yiddish.
Kaas's Hebrew characters are no more 'black letter' than many heavy Hebrew faces, such as Masterfont's Hayim. Since unlike latin script the Hebrew script traditionally has no circular parts, it cannot have one of the defining the characteristics of blackletter: the broken straight strokes that replace circular arches, and that give the style its name in German.
The Ashkenazi letter styles using high contrast and hair line terminals may have been influenced by black letter latin scripts. However in the square script with the opposite contrast from latin--heavy horizontals and light verticals--these features look very different from latin black letter. In any case, these letter styles long exist and do not need inventing.
In general, it is easier to harmonize a Latin and Hebrew script if both of them are of lower contrast, such as in the example Dan gives. This minimizes the opposite stress of the two scripts. It may well be easier to harmonize a 'broken' latin letter style, as it is more square, like the Hebrew.
> Dan, that’s Hebrew, not Yiddish.
No, Dan is talking about my idea of helping along blackletter's redemption by publishing a book about Yiddish set in one. Since I've mentioned that at least three times in threads that you've been in as well, it makes me think you don't actually read what I write. Not that I'm offended - more like validated.
> Kaas’s Hebrew characters are no more ‘black letter’ than
> many heavy Hebrew faces, such as Masterfont’s Hayim.
Put them up and we'll tell you.
In any case Kaas is part of a blackletter typesystem, making it likely to be used in a composition with that overall flavor (giving it more of a blackletter flavor through association) and in fact often in conjunction with its blackletter Latin counterpart.
> ... one of the defining the characteristics of blackletter:
> the broken straight strokes that replace circular arches
Textura has no circular parts either, so your logic is flipped.
Unless you mean too much by "replace", which of course makes no sense.
> do not need inventing.
If that's true, they still very much need reviving.
>>Dan, that’s Hebrew, not Yiddish.
>No, Dan is talking about my idea of helping along
>blackletter’s redemption by publishing a book about Yiddish set in one.
Yes, William, I knew of course that the text their was Hebrew. I was just kidding Hrant because we have had a several-year-long disagreement about how to make blackletter acceptable again. Hrant, I think that you and I may share a lot of goals, but we both seem to want to get to them via our paths :-/
>>Textura has no circular parts either, so your logic is flipped.
Unless you mean too much by “replace”, which of course makes no sense.
Textura doesn't have circular parts*, but that is because the circular parts have been replaced by (broken) straight lines. This "replacement" does make sense, at least how I see it.
* Texturas do often have quite a few round elements, depending. Especially in the capitals, but also sometimes in y's or decorative elements or the round-r that follows certain characters.
Hrant, I have ignored your suggestions about publishing a book about Yiddish in black letter because I wanted to be courteous.
But if you insist: it's an embarassingly stupid idea. Getting enough of a readership for any book on Yiddish to justify the expense of publishing a book is difficult enough. To put it in a font that most people today would have difficulty reading would assure no sales. And anyway so far as I know Latin black letter has nothing to do with the history of Yiddish language (which is written in Hebrew script), so there would be no aesthetic point.
As to any political point. There is no Jewish movement to ban black letter, and never was. And there is no current movement of any kind to ban black letter. So there is no point in a movement to counteract a non-existent movement that for some bizarre reason you feel should be passionately hated.
If people want to revive blackletter--and in fact it seems to be more and more popular--then either create wonderful new typefaces that look fresh and have blackletter heritage--like Fakir and Litteratra--or use traditional styles in visually interesting ways. I for one will look foreward to seeing them.
As to learning more about Hebrew script, just go to http://www.masterfont.co.il/. You will find 'chayim' under 'chet'-- the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
"Replace" doesn't make sense because that's not how scribes work/think. The round forms were not godsent. For one thing, if you [want to] go all the way back, don't forget the angularity of the sources the Romans got their alphabet from.
>“Replace” doesn’t make sense because that’s not how scribes work/think.
Really? Isn't a scribe just thinking, "how can I finish this d*** book as quickly as possible!"?
>If people want to revive blackletter…then either create wonderful new
>typefaces that look fresh and have blackletter heritage…or use traditional styles in
>visually interesting ways.
I tend to agree with this rather than with some full-frontal-assault idea.
> I have ignored your suggestions about publishing a book
> about Yiddish in black letter because I wanted to be courteous.
Don't spin. You didn't understand what Dan was talking about.
> justify the expense ...
One would have to be stupid to think redeeming blackletter is about getting rich. Nothing in type is.
> If people want to revive blackletter
For text. Not just display. And using Hebrew as an "agent" makes sense, for the simple reason that blackletter's negative stigma comes from the Nazis (one way or another).
I couldn't find it.
It's not a matter of any "movement", and certainly not motivated by hate. As you've agreed to yourself, blackletter has negative associations, which many of us believe are largely unfair. Those of us who think blackletter should be revived for text think of ways to make this happen, and directly fighting an unfair stigma is a great tactic.
Dan, the view that German scribes "replaced" some supposedly archetypical round forms (because they were lazy/cheap) is part of the unfair dismissal of blackletter.
BTW, check out Yaron's refreshing opinion here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/typeoff/282095897/
Is saving time unfair? Besides, I think that the German scribes just copied blackletter (or at least the first texturas) from French scribes anyway. If you were French, wouldn't you rather just enjoy the wine and the weather (and the… other nice things)? Saving time when writing has its benefits. Writing was a business then, just like any other. But we are moving way back in time here. This is taking us to the 12th century!
Regarding Yaron, it is obvious that I agree with him! That is why I posted the image here (and there) in the first place. I think that it is a really great (sort of like a peace initiative) example of two scripts working together, and why I wrote "maybe they picked this gothic-style lettering because its forms, of all possible Latin variants, match Hebrew the best" in the first place.
>One would have to be stupid to think redeeming blackletter is about getting rich.
Who said it was about getting rich? Publishers don't publish books they are certain that they are going to lose money on--with rare exceptions. So nobody will publish it and even if it were published it would have no impact. Other than that it's a great idea.
Here is a screen shot from Masterfonts of Chayim:
As you can see by comparison with Kaas, there is a lot of similar ideas.
The point about broken script is, as Noordzij lays out, it was a decision to break the line rather than doing the circles of roman letters. The roman letters came first for latin, which is what they were writing.
The point about Hebrew is that it is a square script to start with, without circles, so you don't need to do breaks to keep to straight lines, corners, and slants.
> Publishers don’t publish ...
I think you're about 50 years behind.
> there is a lot of similar ideas.
Except of course the central one.
Noordzij? Is this the same guy who says left-handed people should write vertically?
> The roman letters came first for latin.
That "for latin" is a convenient escapism.
Not to mention that the Romans didn't have lc.
> That is why I posted the image here (and there) in the first place.
It sounded much more like you were saying "Jews don't think blackletter is Nazi", implying that they don't oppose it. This is something William would say (and in fact says) and is blatantly false.
To date, the only people who have ever told me that blackletter is nazi have been Germans, not Jews. But I don't think that Jews associate blackletter with Naziism, and that image I posted points out that at least some Jews certainly do not. It is inside a synagogue and all that. The image is also the best example of a blackletter/Hebrew mix that I have ever seen, and one that is quite topical, too.
Dan, don't be such a westerner.
> some Jews certainly do not.
Of course I agree.
Just like Derrida, who BTW got a book set in blackletter published.
That photo of yours has made me realize something, since 1959 wouldn't have been enough time to sufficiently recover from the Holocaust: it would be useful to trace when the Nazi stigma of blackletter actually became mainstream (especially in the US) and compare that with the timing of certain other things.
>Jews ...don't oppose [blackletter] ... is blatently false.
I don't know whether Heller opposes blackletter, as I haven't read his book on the Nazis. But I haven't even heard of anyone else, much less any movement.
Come on Hrant, name and quote the Jewish movement attacking blackletter. Or name even five Jews who got together and opposed blackletter.
So far as I know, there was never such a group, never such a movement, except in your head.
Don't duck the issue and start your usual trick of personal insults.
Facts, Hrant, facts.
How did Heller come into this? I'm glad he did though. Go read him. Then read between the lines too - and not just his lines. The self-preserving refusal to do this is what I was referring to when telling Dan not to be such a westerner.
I say there's no "movement", and he still chucks the press releases. You don't need a "movement" to do unethical things (like lie) to protect the things you love in an unplanned collusion with likeminded people - it's a "no brainer"*, at least to some people. Which honestly doesn't bother me too much... except when it's done by those already in power, in which case I go out of my way to expose them.
* If you know what I'm referring to...
>read between the lines
I see. You can't even name one other person besides Heller, and I don't even know if he opposes blackletter--you don't quote him.
What's between the lines is your bigotry. The plot against blackletter is in your head, not in the Jewish community. You've let your anger build a castle of nonsense, and imprison you in it.
Compassion is the key to the exit door to freedom.
You were saying something about personal attacks?...
A desire to thwart tyrants -and their apologists- is not bigotry.
>You were saying something about personal attacks?
Hrant, I am being personal because you have invited it by being gratuitively personal and insulting, against almost everyone, at the drop of a hat. That I can avoid by not taking your bait. But when you say, as you did in another thread, that Jews "need to rejoin the human race," you need to be called to account for your bigotry.
Because this thread so clearly shows how you generate anger and hatred out of nothing, I have chosen it to answer you. It has nothing to do with tyrants; it has everything to do with your spewing unprovoked insults against individuals and whole peoples. I resent your using Typophile as your own personal playground for verbal bullying. And I don't think I'm alone.
And I resent you, period. Not for the insults, but for how you see the world, and hence how you subvert Typophile to your -entirely non-typographic- agenda.
To be honest and speaking as a newbie, this board hosts considerable 'off topic' topics. Precious little in this 'Critique' forum, in fact, seems to have much to do with typeography at all.
Not that this particular slam isn't fascinating.
Typophile's lifeblood used to be new type design crits. People used to come here just for that, and everybody was learning so much. Sadly, that seems to have died a long, slow death. It's hard to figure out why.
certainly that is why i came here. I am new to the field and hoped to find knowledgable and helpful folks (as I have found elsewhere in graphic design and poetry forums.
well.... gonna stick it out at least til i get my first face completed and posted. If no response, well.... at least it hasn't cost me anything but time.
There is still some life among a few of us in the Critique area. The problem is that posts there are down a few levels and don't show up unless you go look for them. Once you post in a thread, you can find that thread in your tracker though. Don't give up on it.
although i am writing in this thread too late, there are just some little things i want to say about blackletter.
some people forget that befor the nazi party rised, jews lived in germany, were german citizens, and were proud germans. they loved the german culture and called them selves "german of moses religion" (free translation). they talked german and read and breathed german.
disowning blackletter as the nazis do, sounds so irrational, it's like disowning arian features like blond hair. but, the nazis were far from being reasonable.. hitler disowned the german people when he found out that "they wasn't worthy" for him.
i think that nowadays we should cast aside things like general views, opinions and characteristic of an entire culture and people (and i won't use the word race). claiming jews are against blackletter? huh?
my knowledge about this is quite small, but there is something problematic with the question. im a jewish man, an israeli. i also have european features, but that's not all who i am. i have a personality above my origin and so does every jew. jew do not obtain homogenic opinions, we don't share one brain.
furthermore - i think blackletter is cool. i love arabic type. i love gothic architecture and german culture, and i love arabic music. i am trying to trancend above general views about people. i am above hating all germans, or the german language for instance because what the nazis did. im trying to see a more incitive view of the different cultures, and so should every man. we can't assume such general opinions before we have really made a good contact.
i don't think jews are against blackletter. it might be that one of the symbols, gathered in the jewish and western collective memory of the hollocaust, was unfortunately the blackletter. was unfortunately swastika, or german laguage. but that doesn't meen all think the same.