importance of typeface

shivat's picture

Why was typeface so importance in Nazism propaganda?

Werfer's picture

Isn't type important with EVERY type of propaganda?? Surely, the typeface needs to be supportive to what is written, i.e. it needs to support the message the propaganda is trying to get across.

In other words, an election poster of the NSDAP would not have worked, had they used something like Scriptina :-) But the same goes for the KPdSU. In fact, it goes for any kind of info.

Nick Shinn's picture

Type style was not politically significant in Nazi propaganda.
Just google "nazi poster" under Images, and observe the great variety of styles.

PublishingMojo's picture

Letterforms are products of a people's culture, just like clothes and music. When a regime wants to suppress a group, one of the weapons it uses is banning that group's cultural expressions (some examples are France's ban of the burqa and Taliban-era Afghanistan's ban of most secular music). Fraktur types were widely used in Germany until the Third Reich banned them in 1941 because it believed these faces had Jewish origins.

cerulean's picture

I think the question is, why is Nazism such a fixation for people beginning to learn about type?

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Why all the focus on Nazi type all of the sudden? Is Israel commissioning a new national typeface?

hrant's picture

Nick, how can you say that when the Nazis explicitly endorsed blackletter, and then explicitly denounced it?

Why the attraction? Simple: rarely has type played such a big and explicit role in politics.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

Well, when you start from a style of printing, Fraktur, which everyone else finds very hard to read, you have to devote some attention to that to engage in propaganda activities, even if you devalue typography in general.

JamesM's picture

>Just google "nazi poster" under Images, and observe the
> great variety of styles.

Very interesting; not only are there a variety of fonts, but I'm also surprised at the variety of colors used. I would have expected mostly red and black like the flag.

> Fraktur types were widely used in Germany until the Third Reich
> banned them in 1941 because it believed these faces had Jewish origins.

That was the reason given to the public, but Hitler had mentioned his dislike of Fraktur typeface several years before it was banned, stating that it looked outdated to him.

hrant's picture

That doesn't make blackletter irrelevant as a Nazi tool - it's simply more evidence that Hitler wasn't the only player. It's just convenient to demonize one person instead of seeing deeper problems. You can't run a war with a single sick looney.

hhp

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Nobody can use the color red like the Germans. They freakin' own that color.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

> Why was typeface so importance in Nazism propaganda?

Because type is always important.

Werfer's picture

I would dare to disagree - there are a large number of wars where "one sick looney" was all it needed. Just think of the Conquest of England in 1066 - William II was the one and only reason for all of it. Or think of the Napoleonic wars - it was Napoleon who caused it, and he was the one who gave the orders. And so on.

Yes, there are always "supporters", there are always those that follow the orders. But there is always this one charismatic person who is in command and in control. He is "the cause". All the others are those that either want to - or believe to have no choice (usually because of fear).

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