Coats of Arms of the Book Trade

Last year I was looking for type specimen and related publications of foundries on the internet. I found this nice booklet that was published Christmas 1970 by H. Berthold AG as a present to their customers. It is called ‘Die Wappen der Buchgewerbe’ (Coats of Arms of the Book Trade) and was published in a series of facsimile publications from ‘Schätze aus der Berthold-Bibliothek’ (Treasures from the Berthold-Library). On the cover Englische Schreibschrift set on the Diatype Photocomposer and Akzidenz Grotesk Mager as handset metal type. On the cover also the first known printers' mark from Fust and Schöffer in the Mainz Psalter, printed in 1457. ‘Die Wappen der Buchgewerbe’ was first published in 1891 by the Austrian heraldic painter Hugo Gerard Ströhl and contained nine colored plates with coats of arms.

On the second picture a spread with one of the seven coats of arms that are shown in the Berthold booklet. This is the coat of arms of the painters, one of the oldest coats of arms. Times where changing and in in the seventies graphic designers began to play a bigger role in book production. So Berthold dedicated this coat of arms also to the graphic designers.

dberlow's picture

Quidquid dicis.

polkawithfontana's picture

Oops, 5star, from which planet are you? What is completely new to typography or more widely to graphic design?
When you see everything as black and white as you do there are no new typefaces. Everything we use in the western world is in fact in basic form a copy of things made 500 years ago when roman type was introduced as a melting pot between roman capitals and Karolingan minuscle. But when we see Jenson and Griffo as inventors of our letterforms, in what creative world do we live at this moment when I follow your mindset? Or is the only thing you reject the things you don't like in your own esthetic mind? Of course that is no problem. I don't like a gray world and the more difference the better it is. What is your favorite typeface by the way?

5star's picture

polka, being stuck in the past as it seems you are, I can well understand you not noticing design theory and design practices have evolved. If you find that mining the past is a good life then that's great. For me, on the other hand, I like to see life (in whatever form it takes) evolve and keep evolving. Of today's design theories (such as Superflat to name but one of the more current) graphic designers, artists, composers etc., have evolved. Not all of course, only the ones that matter.

I don't reject anything. It is not a matter of taste for me. It is simply a matter of design evolution in practices and in theory. I hate to break it to you polka, but there are actual schools and movements of design/art/music etc.. developing/evolving this very minute.

Do you really think Calypso typeface could have been thought of and created 500 years ago? In fact forget about the technical means to product the letter shapes. The very nature of Calypso would of been impossible to conceive. Why is that?

Sorry, I don't have a favorite typeface.

Chris G's picture

The former has an articulate elaborate graphic vocabulary ...unlike your twitter - esque graphic grunt.

polka, being stuck in the past as it seems you are

I hate to break it to you polka, but there are actual schools and movements of design/art/music etc.. developing/evolving this very minute.

What's Joep done to deserve all that pissy attitude?

hrant's picture

Classical escalation. Not very knightly.


dberlow's picture

Boarding minor, 2 min.

polkawithfontana's picture

I like a good discussion so I don't mind. I think a little different about our heritage and want to preserve it and try to let it be noticed, also and especially by design students. A lot of designers are collectors and so am I. We build upon the shoulders of those who came before us and it is not only what is made but also the discussions between designers that should be noticed.
But on the other hand. You talk about new stuff made today. What new stuff? I only see styling and almost no design. I think I am also guilty to live in that mainstream. Great thoughts like Bauhaus, DaDa, Swiss Style and so on are not brought to this computer age. I wish I had a brilliant idea to bring typography to the next level ...

Someone who got on that road in asking himself ‘why should I do this the same as everyone did’ is Pierre di Scuillo.
Look on and you will see that he is really trying to invent new characters that connect more to the spoken language. It is a shame that his commercial typefaces are not as spectacular, but this is what I mean. Not rejecting anything and trying to move forward on what we have.

By the way, I don't live in the past and I don't think that my interest in nice old stuff implicates that. It is one of the things I do in graphic design ...

polkawithfontana's picture

Superflat is a selfproclaimed art movement from the nineties. It calls itself Postmodern and that it is. You could say a melting pot of things like manga and anime. The American SoFlo version goes beyond that and is adding Pop Art. Quite nice and inspiring but new? I like it. But the new movement in graphic design and even typography? I don't think so ...

5star, with Calypso you are right. It was something new and I explained that in my thread of Calypso. But still Excoffon used the traditional letterforms as starting point.

I also present to you the Dutch PoFo version of Superflat. It is our dog Egor, the mascotte of our studio.

5star, please look at it with a smile ...

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