Looking for Nazi WWII Typefaces

300dpi's picture

Hello!

I’m designing a book jacket on Nazi WWII propaganda and would like to use type that accurately represents the period. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I’m particularly confused about whether or not to use a blackletter typeface. I’ve found a lot of information explaining that Nazi’s rejected blackletter typefaces in the early 1940’s. However, most propaganda pieces I’ve found online use some variation of blackletter.

My other idea was to use Frutiger because that is the typeface of the current Bundeswehr (http://users.ncrvnet.nl/mstol/bundeswehr.html).

Thanks in advance for your help!

Ivo's picture

… but the German Bundeswehr does not consider itself as their successor and does not follow the traditions of any former German military organisation, especially the Wehrmacht. So I think the Frutiger relating the Bundeswehr isn't the correct typeface for you.

Bleisetzer's picture

Would it not be wiser to go deeper into a project like yours being more neutral and objectiv?

"...and would like to use type that accurately represents the period."

I know what you meand but I guess its the wrong way you chose.
And to write in the next sentence "My other idea was to use Frutiger because that is the typeface of the current Bundeswehr..."

Very strange what you write, very strange.

Georg

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

I’ve found a lot of information explaining that Nazi’s rejected blackletter typefaces in the early 1940’s. However, most propaganda pieces I’ve found online use some variation of blackletter.

Check, if possible, the dates of those pieces to see if they date from before or after their rejection of blackletter type. As you say, there is quite a bit of documentation on this.

300dpi's picture

Thanks for the help everyone.

Georg, you made a good point. Thank you.

ben_archer's picture

Logan I assume you have seen Georg's earlier comment on an example from this era at

http://typophile.com/node/30988

300dpi's picture

Now I have. Thanks for the link Ben.

yuzgen's picture

"the German copy is set in Fraktur, the typeface used for setting German and other northern languages since Gutenberg. If it hadn’t been for the Nazis misusing these faces for their sinister purposes, we would still be reading Fraktur. It is the typeface of Goethe, Martin Luther, Karl Marx and Hegel. And it is perfectly suited to set our long words and interminable sentences, still evoking Gothic cathedrals and narrow streets with timbered houses. The one used is called Wittenberg Fraktur, after the town where Luther nailed his theses on a church door in 1517."
Erik Spiekermann
http://www.spiekermann.com/mten/2004/03/

Posters:
http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/posters2.htm

Nick Shinn's picture

I came across a German magazine of that era recently, can't remember the title, but it was a very classy job, and one article in particular struck me, about the autobahn. The photos were gorgeous, but they looked like stage sets, as there were no cars in them. The typography combined Futura Light all cap settings with blackletter in a modern, though symmetrical, layout.

So I don't think you will find a typographic monoculture on either side of the fence -- witness the communist John Heartfield's use of both blackletter and roman.


With regards to the demise of the blackletter, Naziism played little role in it -- many northern European countries such as Poland, Denmark and Norway used it in the 19th century, and moved to roman before Germany did -- it had long been on the way out.

The great philologist Jakob Grimm published his work in roman type, and Goethe wasn't too keen on it either, so there was a long-standing tradition of German progressives moving away from blackletter.

1985's picture

Eye magazine recently ran quite an extensive article this issue which would give you some answers, I'm afraid I don't know exactly which issue.

1985's picture

http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature.php?id=134&fid=605

Issue 62 winter 2006.
You would have to obtain the actual article I think.

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