Closest match to this Trajan-like titling from 1922

deadchildstar's picture

Hello, typophiles,

Can anyone help me find the closest match to this sample from 1922 (book cover for Oswald Spengler's Decline of the West - looks like gold leaf or perhaps embroidery?)

It is a Trajan-style, however Trajan itself doesn't match the serifs, which are almost half-serifs. Once I have a typeface that's pretty darned close, I can make modifications like the swashes etc.

Thanks for any assistance you can provide!

donshottype's picture

Great book full of deep and somber thoughts.
The cover is an excellent example of German Antiqua lettering with micro serifs in early 20th century style. I clipped and pasted some of the letters that are repeated. Note the subtle differences in proportions [ignore the clipped swash tail on the last R]:


I looked at German fonts from the era but have not yet found one that is particularly close. You might have to do a pastiche of several fonts.
Don

donshottype's picture

F.H. Ehmcke's Ehmcke Antiqua of 1909 helps give some idea of how an Untergang full font might work. A copycat by Stephenson Blake was digitized by Letraset as Carlton.
Don

donshottype's picture

Here is another font that gives some further ideas on how an Untergang full font might work. It was designed few years later by F.H.E. Schneidler and released in 1936 with the name "Schneidler-Mediaeval mit Initialen." It is usually called Schneidler Initials. I recommend the version by Castle Type, released as Shàngó. Good selection of alternates. The monoline version Shàngó Gothic is also useful.
Don

deadchildstar's picture

Thank you so much, Don - all good insights! I came across Shango in my searches, but after a certain point, it all blurs together! I hadn't thought about the specific German history of the type, other than classical-revival generally, so thanks for these ideas.

I'm trying to re-draw the lettering/reproduce the cover type, but was looking for the best starting point, and perhaps this is it.

donshottype's picture

You're welcome. It seems to me that the lettering for Untergang may have been intended to have an effect that was monumental & architectural to suggest the importance of the subject and Spengler's very structured approach to it -- thus the use of Trajan as an inspiration, in a very similar way that important buildings were graced with neo-Trajanesque inscriptions -- plus a contemporary feel that suggested a measured and scientific approach to the subject. Best wishes for your redesign. Shango with a touch of Ehmke & Weiss should do the trick.
Don

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