Nazi Taint - Redirect from: Design >> Overused Typefaces

hrant's picture

{Over in the Design area, there's a thread called "Overused Typefaces"* which has sprouted an interesting discussion about blackletter. I'm trying to redirect it over here. I was going to call this new thread "OK to Hate", considering my post below, but I realized it needed to be broader.

* http://www.typophile.com/cgibin/show.pl?4100/7580
Starting: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 10:41 am}


> a revival of blackletter may be helped along by its role in an interesting historical situation.

I have a short-story-length expose boiling over in my head about this at the moment, but for now let me ask this "set-up" question:

Why is hating blackletter -by associating it with the Nazis- seemingly encouraged by most people? Especially when you consider that the Nazis disowned it! Is it perhaps because it also seems to be OK to hate Germans in general (at least in the US)? It can't be anti-Semitism, since very few people know/believe the (false) story that blackletter was Jewish. Is it because people need something to hate? Is it due to brainwashing? Or what?

> why did the nazis feel they had to pretend that this wasn't a simple practical measure.

Maybe because they could get more milage out of it by pretending it was part of fighting Jews.

hhp

johnbutler's picture

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.

hrant's picture

> 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

piccic's picture

"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."

What Forrest wrote is exactly what I meant, Hrant. You should stop seeing any consideration as an assault on "cultural identities". I just reported what some Japanese friends answered me on the issue: most graphic designers in Japan are attracted to play with Latin forms because they are simple, and thus more bendable in formal terms. With its complexity of visual structure, I think no contemporary designer would pick up the challenge of designing entirely experimental Kanji sets.
While this may happen for Katakana and Hiragana.
Which are simpler in visual terms. That's all.

The cradle of printing history was referred to the Western countries of course. You are boring.
Leave the US and come back to the old continent (at least with your mind). Or to Africa. Cool.

piccic's picture

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...

anonymous's picture

Actually, the "Blackletter" y'all are talking about is properly known as "Fraktur" (Hrant, don's drool on the keyboard, please): "Fraktur" is the name of the whole class of Teutonic Blackletter typefaces, as opposed to "Gothic" or "Old English", another and distinct genus of type.

anonymous's picture

I don't chase pro-shop fonts, but I do collect Blackletters from free-font sites. I suppose half of my "Fraktur" are in fact "Schwabacher", but I wouldn't know. I'm guessing that most things folk call "Old English" are variants on the Rotunda or Textura typefaces, or just a bad excuse for a fancified half-bake.

anonymous's picture

The demise of blackletter in post-WWII (West) Germany is a sad thing. Now in Germany the typographic landscape (apart from a few very talented type designers around) is quite bland, with Helvetica present anywhere....

http://www.lhoon.com/VDB/fonthate.html

anonymous's picture

Hey everybody

Well, I have been hiding out in my dark little studio writing my dissertation and it is coming along nicely. It has changed a little bit in that it is now more focused - it is an examination of the relationship between Blackletter and alternative culture and why they are drawn to it. Specifically, I am looking at Heavy metal and rock music fans (think motorhead logo etc), hip hop and rap fans (eg. Cypress Hill logo) and members of Black and Hispanic gangs in America who often use Blackletter for their identifying gang tattoos.

It is getting really interesting. I am looking at cognitive and contextual reasons for them choosing Blackletter and I have a few new theories of my own which I will share with you when I get some evidence to back them up! But in the meantime, any opinions relating to this subject would be most welcome.

Hope you are all good and happy!

Cass x

anonymous's picture

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)

Bleisetzer's picture

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.

Georg

Preußisches Bleisatz-Magazin

hrant's picture

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"?

* http://typophile.com/node/6406

hhp

Bleisetzer's picture

Hrant,
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.

Georg

Preußisches Bleisatz-Magazin

hrant's picture

> is something to reflect about for yourself?

Of course.
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.

hhp

Bleisetzer's picture

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?

Georg

Preußisches Bleisatz-Magazin

Geo Ben's picture

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.

geo.

dan_reynolds's picture

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…

hrant's picture

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!

* http://themicrofoundry.com/ad/CR.pdf

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

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/

William Berkson's picture

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.

hrant's picture

> 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.

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

>>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.

William Berkson's picture

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.

hrant's picture

"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.

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

>“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.

hrant's picture

> 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).

> [C]Hayim

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.

hhp

hrant's picture

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/

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

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.

William Berkson's picture

>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.

hrant's picture

> 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.

hhp

hrant's picture

> 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.

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

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.

hrant's picture

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.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

>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.

hrant's picture

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...

hhp

William Berkson's picture

>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.

hrant's picture

You were saying something about personal attacks?...
A desire to thwart tyrants -and their apologists- is not bigotry.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

>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.

hrant's picture

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.

hhp

Geo Ben's picture

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.

geo.

hrant's picture

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.

hhp

Geo Ben's picture

pity, that.

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.

geo.

dezcom's picture

Geo,

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.

ChrisL

Yaronimus-Maximus's picture

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.

piccic's picture

I am very sorry we now can no longer have what could have been – as usual – an insightful and informed contribution by our Typophile member Georg, a.k.a. Bleisetzer, which sadly passed away last July.
I learned about that from his daughter Hannah. I often become aware of a person’s value and then I discover he/she’s just dead.

And I do think it is totally inadequate to use the term "nazi". Nazism, as any other phenomena and as many varied terms often used so erratically, was something complex and not something to be used as a label.

piccic's picture

And, as Yaronimus wrote:
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.

Precisely what I meant. Edith Stein reflects on this, as she saw Nazism grow, and felt her german heritage and what she cherished as a german woman.

And I quite like Laibach, since their musical and visual work is ambiguous enough to make you grasp how easily ideologies are tied to visions, ideals distorted, but nonetheless a value is always something people (think to) see.
Malevolence and ignorance are inextricably tied, so I think it’s not a solution to simply “cast aside a characteristic”, but more to get actual communication work. This is never attained by analysis.

don dada's picture

And I quite like Laibach
the band laibach is from slovenia, however ... (german name for the country's capital ljubljana).

quadibloc's picture

There are certain styles of blackletter that are used for heavy metal bands and the like because of their association with Nazism.

There are other styles with no such association, however; they were used for the names of newspapers until the 1960s in the English-speaking world.

Today, no thread on the readability of such faces still survives, so I think I can comment briefly on this here. In addition to unfamiliarity, some letters are very similar to one another - the Hebrew script, ironically, has the same problem. This seems to indicate a lower legibility (which is not the same as readability) objectively.

Because readability is not the same as legibility of individual letters, because they read words by overall shape; Hrant's "bouma", Fraktur users managed nicely. (Note that Hebrew doesn't even have small letters or much in the way of ascenders and descenders (it has some, i.e. lamed) so it's shortchanged in this department as well.)

But that fact is hardly an argument for switching to Fraktur. There is no reason I know of, or think of, to believe that Fraktur typefaces would be more readable than Roman typefaces if we became more familiar with them. If anything, it would appear that once familiarity was no longer a problem, the objective decrement in legibilty (more similar letters, more visual "noise") would at least slightly reduce reading performance.

This, though, does not mean that type designers shouldn't go to such letterforms as those of the rotunda for inspiration. In that area, there is no issue with either legibility or familiarity, so instead of just display faces evoking a past time period, it is perfectly possible to design an original typeface suited to ordinary body text... or even dictionaries, classified ads, and telephone books.

And, at least, if the result is a gradual drift towards something like Fraktur, that would be the result of the new faces being better; a changeover inspired by a government edict, however well-intentioned, runs the risk of being wrong.

Oh, and speaking on the identification of Fraktur with the Nazis: the Nazis came to power in 1933; they promoted Fraktur strongly shortly after that until 1941, and as we all know, World War II started in 1939. So Nazi Germany's contacts with the outside world (of most forms, other than bullets and bombs, that is) would have been quite limited in the post-Fraktur era. Thus, it is quite natural that people would have identified things with Germany and Nazism that they saw associated with them back when German films and magazines and so on were actively circulating in their countries. After 1941, Germany was no longer creating much of a typographic impression of itself in the Allied world. So it's only in a distorted hindsight that the 1941 decree makes the identification misguided.

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