URGENT: Tannenberg? Verboten! No really, in this case.

hrant's picture

I'm trying to convince somebody not use a Schaftstiefelgrotesk* jackboot grotesque like Tannenberg, because of the Nazi association. Since laymen need to be hit over the head with a two-handed warhammer to get it, I really need to find an image of a vintage poster with a font like this
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Tannenberg_sample.png
and "Adolf Hitler" or a swastika or something equally damning on it too.

* http://typophile.com/node/12130

If you put "Tannenberg font recognize" in Google image search and click on "Find similar images" under the first image, you see a some good candidates, except the links have become broken.

Help!

hhp

Queneau's picture

this one, this one and this one all come close. They used a lot of different Fraktur typefaces, but these examples might bring your point across. I read somewhere a short while ago that the nazi's themselves stopped using these typefaces because their origins supposedly came from jewish letters, after which they adopted the grotesk typeface for their filthy business...

Heavy theme, man.

greetings Jeffrey
infraordinaire

poms's picture

The Euthanasie example should do the job …

But the funny part is that the "layman" finds nothing wrong with the grotesk-like, simplified blackletter design of Tannenberg. So … if the client is not a german and communicates with non-germans, there should be no problem by using Tannenberg or Element etc. (in a light, regular weight with "non propaganda color combinations" and motives.

Queneau's picture

Well...

Care avoiding using barcodes, number combinations, blond girls, and moustaches as well... I don't really think you can really use a typeface like this just like a neutral nice looking typeface for just anything. It's charged with meaning, and if this is not taken into account, it's troublesome, to say the least.

Jeffrey
infraordinaire

hrant's picture

Jeffrey, those are good - thanks! However something even closer to
Tannenberg (and maybe a bit more explicit) might be required...

Thomas, this "person" has enemies who will use it against "him".

hhp

nina's picture

Am I late?



Still looking for better ones. If you like these let me know and I'll bust out the scanner (just snapped these from a book).

Queneau's picture

Can't be much clearer than this one, which is part of this flickr set, where you're sure to find what you're looking for.

Jeffrey
infraordinaire

nina's picture

Sure seems like you've solved this one, Jeffrey. Whoa.

George Thomas's picture

So you are attempting to achieve new heights of political correctness absurdity. Should we abandon all letters of the alphabet used by the Nazis too?

Ridiculous!

Queneau's picture

Cool down now...

I'm not saying they should be forbidden at all! I'm just saying you can't just just use these letters thinking they mean nothing. But I guess this is a normal procedure when choosing a typeface, and there's probably good places to use these letters as well, but you can't simply forget about the context with which, unfortunately, have become synonimous.

So, you're free to use any typeface you want, but I don't think all typefaces are alright for everything and that you can just ignore their context and history.

greetings Jeffrey
infraordinaire

Queneau's picture

And just to add a personal example to the thing mentioned above:

When once commisioned to design my schools in house art magazine, we came up with the idea of using a fraktur typeface for the title of the magazine. This, in combination with a barcode on the cover, provoked very strong reactions among the teaching staff, of which one would refuse to read this magazine and would immediately throw it in the bin if she found it anywhere near her postbox.... so I guess I've learned the hard way as well. Just comes to show that something that seemed like a little bit of thought provoking stirring up can have stronger effects than you can think of at first.

Jeffrey
infraordinaire

hrant's picture

Wow, am I set or what! :-)
Thanks a bunch Jeffrey and Nina.

George, I'm rarely politically correct, and I've actually historically been very vocal about revalidating blackletter. But when something I care about is opening itself up to serious damage by powerful enemies I have to draw a line. Font martyrdom is not something I encourage.

hhp

nina's picture

I'll say it too: I don't see how anyone is being too politically correct here at all.
Jeffrey, I hear you – it is a fine line to toe. I've been too "daring" with at least one client as well with respect to using blackletter and ambiguous imagery.
But the point is doing it consciously. As long as we realize there is a line to toe, and that we juggle with fire – but we do that for a reason –, we can explain our approach vis-à-vis an audience/client/enemy, and take responsibility for our actions. But when a layman around us doesn't realize what kind of target they potentially make themselves, I believe we need to step up and help avoid damage. Not as the type police, more like… the fire brigade. But hopefully, before the fact.

Arno Enslin's picture

An’s?

Was that correct German orthography in 1936/37?

@hrant

However something even closer to Tannenberg (and maybe a bit more explicit) might be required.

If you want to avoid, that someone feels remembered the Nazi regime, I wonder, why you are searching for a similar alternative, because those people, that know the differences, also know, that the crimes of the Nazis were not the fault of the typeface. And the others nevertheless feel remembered.

(I naturally can understand, if someone doesn’t want to use any signs, that people remember the crimes of the Nazis in the context of an advertising project, but the indignation of a sign, even the indignation of the Swastika and independent from the context, is absurd. It either is naive or mendacious. I am German, I am anti-fascist and I even like the aesthetic of Hitler’s version of the Swastika. The sign is timeless good. There should be more discussions about the Swastika or typefaces like Tannenberg in Germany.)

hrant's picture

> why you are searching for a similar alternative

?
I'm not. I'm looking for concrete, layman-level evidence that they shouldn't be using that style of font in their particular context. In some contexts it could be fine, or even great. So essentially I agree with you, it's just that everything has limits.

Heck, I'm a big fan of jackboot Hebrew! :-)
http://vllg.com/Incubator/Kaas/mudTyper+Weights/

hhp

Bleisetzer's picture

What a senseless discussion.
Are you victims of your political correctness? Or are you typographic professionals?

There is _no_ existing "Nazi font".
How often some guys want to establish it.

All this is nonsense.

The "Führer" prefered Antiqua, by the way...

Fraktur fonts were forbidden since 1941, 'cause Adolf Hitler himself called it "jews letters". A funny detail: Lucian Bernhard Fraktur from Lucian Bernhard, a german jew, was the headline font of Völkischer Beobachter, the nazi party's newspaper.

All these "New Gothic" fonts were developed between 1933 and 1938. They mirrored the epoche - that's all. Tannenberg is one of the most famous ones, because it was offered by D. Stempel, the largest foundry.

I wrote an article about Tannenberg some weeks ago (in german).
May be, you want (and can) read it or someone can translate it? My english is not good enough, sorry: Tannenberg

Georg
_______________________________________________
„Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt Ihr meine Farben...“

Arno Enslin's picture

@hrant

I did not read carefully enough. Sorry.

(My first impression of "Kaas…" is, that the a and the ellipsis are a bit too dominant. But you probably did not want to talk about Kaas now.)

@Bleisetzer

The point is, that most readers are not typographic professionals. It may be a question of business in this case and not a question of aesthetics or political correctness or facts and truths.

hrant's picture

Georg, I have most if not all the "facts". But it remains that many people have a certain perception. For example are you saying that Jeffrey is hallucinating about the strong rejection he experienced?

I'm more on your side than most anybody you'll meet. But don't expect me or anybody else to espouse your apparently extreme purism and denial of the hard reality on the ground.

Kaas: we could talk about its formal shapes, but in the context of this thread its Hebrew component would be the one to focus on.

hhp

nina's picture

There's a bit of cross-cultural / cross-language confusion coming up it seems. Georg, let me (us) know if you need part of the thread translated.

The problem is that people (non-typographers) often associate Nazism with Tannenberg – no matter if you (or we) think they are correct or not. So given that we have a layperson, who has enemies waiting for something to use against him, it's only common sense to recommend that he should not give them a reason to attack him – no matter if the attack would be rightful or not. I think we all agree that Blackletter Is Not Evil.

Bleisetzer's picture

hrant, I'll not continue this discussion. I wrote my article, everyone who's interested, can read it and comment it in my blog.

How someone wrote above:
Its ridiculous to call a font "Nazi font".
And just you are... sorry, ... just you should be professional enough to avoid these preconceptions (?). It is the same if you would call the song "The End" from The Doors a "Charly Killer Song", because Coppola used it in Apocalypse Now. Yes, the US-americans killed thousands of Vietnam people, as you know. But its absolutely senseless to give any guilty to The Doors or to the song.

Georg
_______________________________________________
„Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt Ihr meine Farben...“

Bleisetzer's picture

Ah.. sorry... I forgot to say good bye, hrant...

Bye for now.
You are how you are and I know it since years now.

Georg
_______________________________________________
„Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt Ihr meine Farben...“

nina's picture

"you should be professional enough to avoid these preconceptions"

Dude, are you even reading what we write?

It's about other people's preconceptions.
Non-professional people's preconceptions.
They exist, if we like them or not.

And your logic is garbled.

Bleisetzer's picture

Yes, altaira, I do.
And I understand, what you wrote.

Just see:
You are following the political correctness by avoiding to do things non-professional people could think about it in a negative way. Anyway if its a wrong thinking or not. So you do wrong, because you are the professional. Your job is to change the wrong thinking of the non-professionals, not to overtake their wrong thinking.

Do you understand, what I mean?

Georg
_______________________________________________
„Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt Ihr meine Farben...“

nina's picture

Yes, Georg, I understand that. And like I said above, I have actually acted the way you specified myself. But this is a slightly different situation.

Picture this:
You're on vacation in Pamplona with a friend of yours, who knows nothing about Spain, and doesn't care either. On the day of the bull running, your young friend happily decides he'd like to go for a walk in the city, wearing his favorite red t-shirt.
You know the city. You know the bulls are racing. You've been there.
So do you warn him? Do you tell him to put on a different shirt? Do you tell him not to go out at all?
Or do you think he should proudly wear his favorite shirt and never mind the bull?

hrant's picture

> you should be professional enough to avoid these preconceptions

I try to be professional and/or helpful enough to not try to
impose the parameters of some personal utopia on others.

hhp

Queneau's picture

I think the core of this discussion is about semiotics. And it's about confusing what is being said with how it's being said. Blackletters (or any letter for that matter) aren't evil in any way, and there is a lot of typographic history attached to them (Printing all started with them, and with it modern typography, let's not forget that) so to just connect them to the nazi regime is definately wrong... BUT the prominent use of these letters by the Nazi regime no more than 70 years ago, and it's use afterwards by right wing activists and football hooligans does make use of this kind of letter contaminated/problematic. As type professional it is very important to know the distinction between what is said and how it's said, even when other don't. And we should also use this knowledge to avoid this kind of pigeonholing. The use of certain symbols, imagery, typefaces etc carries certain messages, this can't just be ignored, that's just stupid, ESPECIALLY when you're a professional in the business of communications.

I find it really quite tiresome to have this political correctness discussion. Freedom of expression YES, but ignorance of expression, what is expressed and how it's expressed NO. If that's against peoples sense of freedom, that's a shame, but, IMO, completely unneccesary.

And sorry for the CAPS... :)

Jeffrey
infraordinaire

Arno Enslin's picture

@altaira

Neither red nor any other color raises the aggression of bulls.

@Georg

Your job is to change the wrong thinking of the non-professionals, not to overtake their wrong thinking.

I don’t know the context, in which hrant’s client wanted to use Tannenberg, but advertising is not a classroom, in which truths and facts are taught. Often it is just the other way around. If the client offers dental health services, it would be a very bad idea, to use Tannenberg. If the client deals with noodles, he could use Tannenberg, except from the fact, that Tannenberg really does not look like pasta.

(A Tannenberg alphabet noodle soup would be funny.)

Florian Hardwig's picture

Papa Flickr thinks the picture set that Jeffrey has linked to is too hazardous for me.

ebensorkin's picture

Florian is that just in Germany or everywhere? The laws in different places are different as I understand it. You can rely off list if you like.

Georg, your point about the essential nature of the forms is absolutely right. I mean: bang on, 100% right. But at the same time I have to admit that it always important to consider the audience. If you genuinely believe you can assign a new a new set semantic associations with a given use - then by all means go for it. The letters deserve to be free. But I would want to be very very sure about it. My first loyalty in a case like this is not to the letters - but to the message they are meant to deliver but on a literal as well as on a connotative level.

hrant's picture

Arno, if the "client" is [falsely] accused of ethnic
cleansing, using Tannenberg is a bad idea. Period.

hhp

Bleisetzer's picture

Okay...

First of all I want to say sorry.
I became emotional yesterday night and it was not correct, to attac hrant - it does'nt matter if I like him or not, I want to be politely to every colleague. So, I want to say sorry.

By the way:
hrant's first example:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Tannenberg_sample.png

is a copy of a document of a protestant church in Germany from 1946 (one year after Germany lost the war). Tannenberg Linotype matrices and handletters were existing in about three of ten printer plants. I know that because we every month takeover one of these printers and buy there lead letters. So they had many other matrizes to chose, but they used Tannenberg. IF the mainstream thinking 1946 would have been to see Tannenberg as a Nazi font, they would'nt, mh? Or they would try, but US army, the winners of the war, would have forbidden it.

Another argument:
The although called "New Gothic" fonts like Tannenberg were a break with the traditional Fraktur. So to combine what whoever is thinking about Fraktur does not matter Tannenberg.

But IF its necessary to combine it, because customers do: The history of Fraktur is existing since around 500 years. 12 of it Adolf Hitler ruled Germany. He did not like Fraktur and he did not like Tannenberg either. He wanted and needed Antiqua.

What about my example with the Door's song The End. Is'nt it the same to call Tannenberg a Nazi font or to call Jim Morrison's song a Viet Killer song?

I found some magazines "Graphische Nachrichten" from 1934, where Tannenberg joined the market with some ads in Tannenberg, National and others. Are you interested to see it? So I could make some scans.

Georg
_______________________________________________
„Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt Ihr meine Farben...“

Celeste's picture

Maybe I'm stepping a bit late into this debate.
Anyway, Georg, I don't think you can state that Tannenberg simply "mirrors the epoch - that’s all".
First of all, there is the name itself : the SECOND battle of Tannenberg (August 17—September 2, 1914) was a huge victory for Germany against Russia at the beginning of World War I, and was widely perceived at the time as especially significant since it was felt to be a long-overdue revenge on the FIRST battle of Tannenberg (July 15, 1410), where the Polish armies defeated the Teutonic Knights, stopping German expansion in Eastern Europe. Thus, choosing this name for a Blackletter typeface in 1933 clearly hinted at notions of "German pride", indeed a significant part of Hitler's rhetoric. It is also telling that other examples of "Schaftstiefelgrotesk" include National and Deutchland (no explanation needed here).
Secondly, "Schaftstiefelgrotesk" are a conscious effort by German typefounders to find some kind of compromise between traditional Blackletter forms (an integral part of the Heimatstil favoured by some of the highest-ranking members of the Nazi party) and Grotesk typefaces promoted by Tschichold's New Typography and Bauhaus designers, at a time when the Nazis themselves hesitated between the two aesthetic camps (modernism was advocated by some as a style which "would best distinguish the new Germany from the old", as stated by Steven Heller in Iron Fists — Branding The 20th-Century Totalitarian State).
Finally, the rejection of Fraktur as Judenlettern (Martin Boormann's words, January 3, 1941) comes quite late in the history of the Nazi regime : up to this point, Blackletter was flaunted as the embodiment of "Germanness" by Nazi propaganda, even if Hitler himself had a personal taste for Neoclassical forms (in architecture as well as in typography).

murphy.md's picture

@Florian: you need to sign in to see the photo set; I don't know if this is the case in other countries.

And just my two cents: as an Englishman living in Germany for the last two years, I've been somewhat surprised by the lingering sense of guilt and shame shared by, I would say, the majority of Germans. Especially surprising is that this has even been passed on to young people, whose parents even weren't old enough to live through WW2: some have told me they feel like their opinions on such matters are highly scrutinised. There are those who, perhaps like Georg, seek to break this cycle in their lifetime, but this is not the normal position. I've been in trouble a couple of times with some (perhaps somewhat glib) jokes, which has taught me to think a bit about the feelings I am invoking in saying such things.

One only has to look at the furor over the publication of those damned Muhammed cartoons. Yes, one might say that it was political correctness gone mad, but the fact of the matter is that the cartoonists in question became famous for all the wrong reasons. In other words, your work should be sensitive to such things if your goal is to produce work that invokes the correct responses. Of course, here comes more careful line-treading.

seventy7's picture

Hrant: I'm sure you're all set, but this page from, "Blackletter: Type and National Identity" is all you need. The second paragraph specifically mentions Tannenberg!

Another resource for Nazi propaganda posters: http://www.ushmm.org/propaganda/

Bleisetzer's picture

@ Celeste

Yes, you are right.
Tannenberg was a great victory of General Hindenburg at the beginning of WWI. Only this victory made it possible to send the troops to the western front, where France with the help of England was attacking Germany.So it was a notation to Germany's pride, how you said it. So, what?

We know lots of Egyptienne fonts. Named Egyptienne, because Napoleon attacked England in Egypt. All european nations were imperialistic. "British Empire" says it clear and loud.

When I say Tannenberg was a result of this german epoche, I mean, that this epoche was very national. Germany lost WWI, was pressed under the Versailles contract. The people saw the again upcoming Germany with proud. So Tannenberg mirrored this feeling. The same did the fonts Gotenburg, National, Franken-Deutsch, Herman-Gotisch, Kurmark, Trump-Deutsch. Not all of them were "New Gothisch" fonts. But all of it note to be close to the major feeling of this epoche - to think national. I am sure, the foundries marketing departments tried to force it, because like it is today: They want to make profit with their products.

So: I agree with you. But I said the same before: These fonts are mirrors of the national epoche of Germany. But nothing to do with "Nazi font". The Nazi party won the internal national war and ruled Germany for 12 years. But Nazi is not the same as "national thinking" is. Berthold Brecht said, Nazism is a way to get absolutely force. I think, that's right. They were criminals, not politicians.

@ murphy.md

Yes, its correct what you say. Lots of german younger people (I am born 1955) are ashamed to be germans. I do not agree. I am proud to be a german. I am the "good german" and not the f... neo nazi groups, you can find everywhere in Germany. I do not allow them to say "I am proud to be german". Germans, who are ashamed of their country give Germany exactly to these neo nazis. I don't. I am not guitly for nothing what happened. But I have a special responsibility for today and for the future. But its my right to love my country in the same way and with the same enthusiasm a guy from France does. And its a big mistake to see all things around 1933-45 being Nazi. Germany was and is much more than 12 years of crime. So Germany was, is and can be proud on the battle of Tannenberg as an english guy on Trafalgar an american on Los Alamos.

Hu.... sry, need a cigarette... (I smoking french ones...he, heee..)

Georg
_______________________________________________
„Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt Ihr meine Farben...“

hrant's picture

Roy, I have that wonderful book, and will certainly refer to that page as needed, but I think I need to deliver the visual punch first. Asking people to read is harder. :-) But I didn't know it was accessible online! Thank you, that's advantageous.

I hope Germans shed their shame en masse ASAP. They've bent over backwards making reparations, and it only serves to make things worse now (for example indirectly for the Palestinians). They should be proud, especially in the realm of type, where they've made the best fonts, historically and today.

However, one key to shedding the shame is not simply ignoring the reality on the ground of what some other peoples -unjustly- think of them. Same with blackletter in general and the jackboot grotesques in particular. Denial gifts your enemies with a powerful weapon against you.

hhp

Jan's picture

Hrant, I have a book ‘Art of the Third Reich’ with posters and photos of the time (not very good quality and I would have to scan them). Does it have to be specifically Tannenberg or also similar stuff (Schaftstiefelgrotesk in general – why Grotesk btw?)?

hrant's picture

I don't want to leave any wiggle room, so the closer to this
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Tannenberg_sample.png
the better. Plus Hitler and/or a swastika. :-)
Like I said, a two-handed warhammer.

That Flickr stream probably has most of the ones in any book, but
they're small. So a hi-res scan of a really damning one would be great.

hhp

Arno Enslin's picture

@Georg

Lots of german younger people (I am born 1955) are ashamed to be germans. I do not agree. I am proud to be a german.

I have great respect for everyone, that preserves and that develops culture like you, but I never was able to understand, how someone can be proud of his country. You can be proud of your own achievements only. Except from that I doubt, that it is true, that many Germans, which were born after the Nazi regime, are ashamed to be Germans because of the sins of their parents or grandparents. The fact, that there are Germans, which go into hysterics, when another German says in the public, that the Swastika is a highly aesthetic sign, has not to do with shame, but with either an unbelievable simple-mindedness or a dishonest political correctness. Or both. Instead of being ashamed of the sins of others or being proud of the cultural achievements of the past, it is needed to invest in education and educational justness, because we have a lot of catching-up to do there. The German educational system is too targeted with regard to career and earning money. There is a tendency to construe culture as a means to an end, as luxury, as pastime or as prestigious object in Germany.

But Nazi is not the same as “national thinking” is.

It is not the same, because the Nazis were trans- or overnationalists. And in my opinion "national thinking" is the little sister of trans- and overnationalism. Why not limit to thinking (and doing)? "National thinking" sounds like "national security" and today it ends in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Bleisetzer's picture

@ Arno
"I never was able to understand, how someone can be proud of his country."

Well Arno... to be serious:
I never ever are able to understand, how someone, who's member of... and here are the problems beginning...

The german word "Volk" in english means sometimes folk, sometimes nation.
But there is a big difference between folk and nation.

The smallest community is the family, right?
The largest one is the folk (who organizes itsself in a nation).
Its a question of blood, is'nt it?
Jews call themselves "the chosen people". And its on the mothers to give it to the children, not the father.
So let's say: german Volk = my people.

All men of my family (from both sides, father's and mother's) were volunteers in the wars, Germany was involved. They fought for their people, not for a government. And I feel a deep solidarity to my people. Not as a question of thinking about... but as a kind of reflex. My son (18) does not join the german "Bundeswehr" (army). He wanted, because he thougt about becoming a professional commissioned officer. But I did not allow it. He would have to go to Afghanistan. And this is not a war of our people. Never ever an afghanian did my people any harm. And you know, who's war it is and you can find the answer, why this war is going on...

Back to your thesis:
I can not understand, how someone who has his own people (folk) does think in another way, I do... may be in America, because this is a melting pot without historical growing of population? I don't know.

That's all what I can explain.
To belong to a folk, to my people, is a present from I don't know, whom. And if this would not be the natural way for human beings, the most nations would not exist. So... how can it be a bad thing?

Georg
_______________________________________________
„Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt Ihr meine Farben...“

Bleisetzer's picture

Why should we in West Germany agree to the re-union with middle of Germany in 1990, if we would not feel as "our people"? In this case they should continue DDR, the old communist Germany, Arno... yes, that is a good example :-) I was very happy when the big wall felt down in 1990, believe me. We all were...

Georg
_______________________________________________
„Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt Ihr meine Farben...“

Arno Enslin's picture

@Georg

The genetic differences between human individuals are minimal, brother! What are you doing, when the world is attacked by the mankind?

In the very most cases it is an illusion, that people fight for their own interests or the interests of their people in wars.

It is more important to respect the nature than to bow his own nature. By the way the man is an unfinished product. Culture, civilization and rational decisions are part of the nature.

I was very happy when the big wall felt down in 1990, believe me.

I felt happy for the Eastern Germans, but not because of the re-union, but because of the downfall of a dictatorship. Except from that I don’t believe, that turbo-capitalism is a good alternative.

hrant's picture

Interesting and very timely:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8347409.stm

hhp

Arno Enslin's picture

@hrant

Very interesting. The Frenchmen seem to believe, that a different economic system does not necessarily end in a dictatorship. And my landsmen are willing to choose one of the positions (but 30% were not willing to vote in September).

Also interesting in this context:
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/the-billion-dollar-...

Bleisetzer's picture

@ Arno Enslin

Yes, there was a downfall of dictatorship in middle east Germany. Reason enough to be happy. So they came from one into another one. But I guess, it is more senseful to stop political discussions. I'ld lose my last positive reputations, if I'ld continue. I think, feel, believe and act in a very other way than One World, One Future, what might be a nice utopia, but helps the big money to rule the world. We'll see that within the next five years...

@ hrant
On german websites you won't find Tannenberg with swastika or nazi propaganda. Its forbidden by very strict handled law. I have some magazines of "Graphische Nachrichten" (Graphic News) from 1934—1938 with advertisments including the fonts National, Gotenburg and others, which all include swastika or Hitler propaganda. If its senseful for you, I can scan it and send it to you by email.

Georg
_______________________________________________
„Ich bin ein Preuße, kennt Ihr meine Farben...“

Arno Enslin's picture

@Georg

A correction only – I did not meant

It is more important to respect the nature than to bow his own nature.

but

… to bow to his own nature. (In German: sich seiner Natur beugen und nicht seine Natur zu beugen.)

Andreas Stötzner's picture

Back to Type.

Hrant, I wonder why you didn’t unfold some little detail on the context of the client and his project which pressed you to commence this discussion. You only screame "need to disqualify a typeface, give me Nazis, give me Hitler urgently" which is quite opposite to being sensitive – whereas sensivity in a matter like this surely is of merit. As a German who, similar to Georg Kraus, may boast with some pride for our countries heritage (in typography, to say the least ;-) I reject the attitude of nazifying anything which is just decisively German.

Would you blame the Capitalis Quadrata being inacceptable because the Romans were imperialistic?
Would you blame the Bembo for being of typical Roman-Catholic flavour with regard to millions of slaughtered native Americans during the “Christian” conquest?
Would you blame the Baskerville for being so English out of a time when the Britons forced millions of Africans into slavery?

Where are we to end up on this trail –?

I believe, there is much about context in this. Yes, the Tannenberg is a typographic celebration of German pride and self-assertion, one may call this nationalism. Nothing wrong with that in a liberal world. But I have to second the statement that this connotation is NOT to be equalled with Nazism.

The type of Schaftstiefelschrift has been in use in Germany since the 1940s *continiously*. I picked up a few examples which may illustrate that there must be more behind it than dull nazism. The first one is from a handpainted touristic map of uncertain date (est. 1940…1960, note the calligraphic delecacy). The other examples are well-known brands to be found literally everywhere.


.

.

nina's picture

Dear [fellow] Germans, the collective defensiveness in this thread is conspicuous. Is it really so impossible to accept that among laymen outside of Germany, Tannenberg-esque lettershapes tend to stir associations to Nazism first, with beer and noodles and good German craft possibly a distant second? The eagerness to assert a positive image is a bit tiring.

You don't have to convince anyone in here; you would need to convince everybody on the planet to erase their preconceptions. That's the point: Designers do need sensitivity, and they also need enough sensitivity (and sensibility) to see the associations "the man on the street" has – be they justified/"fair" or not! Those need to be taken into account to decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether to be more daring and attempt to work towards correcting the public "image" (which doubtless seems like a more heroic and exemplary course of action); or sometimes to take a bit of extra precaution and not taunt public opinion, in cases that are more sensitive, as this one appears to be. This bull does charge at red.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

… that among laymen outside of Germany, Tannenberg-esque lettershapes tend to stir associations to Nazism first

This may be so, but when I recall designs like this AC-DC-cover – surely not German, I doubt it. As I doubt that an Italian, Hungarian or American fellow, sitting befor a glass of Bitburger on summer holidays, gets nazistic association first. – context.
I didn’t want to be eager to defend something. But the average layman, being German or something else, may be less ideological biased than eager designers.
Prost!

nina's picture

"context."
Of course. (That's why I said case-by-case.)

Prost – I miss the Hasseröder.

hrant's picture

> I wonder why you didn’t unfold some
> little detail on the context of the client

To protect the "client".

> Would you blame the Capitalis Quadrata being
> inacceptable because the Romans were imperialistic?

I'm not blaming a font. I'm not blaming anything.
I'm being a designer. Not a utopian propagandist.

> Would you blame the Baskerville for being so English out of
> a time when the Britons forced millions of Africans into slavery?

I might blame a minority-rights organization for using Baskerville
as bad design, possibly. Although that wouldn't be nearly as bad as
the case I'm dealing with.

So yes, context. For example a yoghurt company can probably use a
Tannenberg*, but a company that manufactures electrocution chairs
shouldn't. Helvetica would be good for them. :-)

* Unless the owner's father was Nazi big brass or something.

hhp

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