Revival vs. rip off

ludwiguebele's picture

Some weeks ago URW++ published a typeface called Revis by Coen Hofmann. On the website it states: "Revis is a formal script based on Daphne, a typeface that was originally designed by German type designer Georg Salden. Coen Hofmann re-designed, completed and digitally re-mastered the font."

Daphne was designed in 1970. For 12 years Bethold had the rights to use it on Staromat, a phototypesetting machine. Salden never published a digital version of his typeface Daphne (although he digitized it and still plans to publish it). Now, Georg Salden is still very alive and he still works active on existing and new typefaces. Hofmann never asked for permission to "redesign" the Daphne typeface, nor he has any rights on the design.

So what do you think about this? I find it quite rude to copy a typeface of a still active type designer, do some changes and label it "revival".

http://www.urw.de/cgi-bin1/dalcgi/source/schnellsuche_e.htd?searchchar=r...
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/urw/revis/

hrant's picture

To me it seems too close to be OK without asking for permission,
considering the original is only dormant and not dead. I think
Salden himself needs to write a letter of complaint.

hhp

JoergGustafs's picture

I’ve asked me the same when I got that URW newsletter.
When I saw 'Revis' I was immediately reminded of those notorious fonts that look awfully close to existing typefaces with some unfitting quirks added.

To name such a typeface 'Revis' is just mockery. And it’s sad that it happened to Salden (again).

hrant's picture

So it's happened to Salden before? Well, since his designs
are apparently worth reviving, maybe he can be convinced to
stop squatting on them and team up with somebody to re-release
them legitimately (and hopefully in better quality than Revis).

hhp

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Looks like Hoffman did that ‘nine things different' thing, so he'll be off the hook in the States…

Anyway, URW++ published this, so maybe a cry of outrage directed at them will do the trick.

JanekZ's picture

plain as day:

"The disposal and use of the derivative work shall be dependent on permission of the author of the original work (derivative copyright) unless the author's economic rights to the original work have expired."

BRANDMECHANIC's picture

well - i'm ok with this one i think...

it is clearly based on "a/the concept" but several letterforms have been improved upon (save the lower case "r" - that is rubbish)

i think there are many more "rip offs" than this out there

Thomas Phinney's picture

It is clearly derivative, sure. (I don't mean that in the legal sense, btw.) But it's sufficiently different that I wouldn't call it a "revival" at all! More of a "revision" (as the name implies).

See also John Downer's essay, "Call It What It Is": http://www.emigre.com/Editorial.php?sect=2&id=1

Thomas Phinney's picture

Another great article, more aimed at what to do about overly-derivative work:
http://www.jessicahische.is/obsessedwiththeinternet/andbeingresponsively...

blank's picture

I would say that Revis is to Daphne as Metro is to Futura.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

looks like a Schweinerei, to me.

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

Well, since his designs are apparently worth reviving, maybe he can be convinced to stop squatting on them and team up with somebody to re-release them legitimately (and hopefully in better quality than Revis).

This is why he teamed up with Ludwig. I’m desperately awaiting your outcome, guys! Loreley!
http://www.typemanufactur.com/index.html

eliason's picture

I would say that Revis is to Daphne as Metro is to Futura.

To my mind, the degree of departure from the model may be about the same, but this case bothers me more because of the particularity of the letterforms. I can imagine somebody coming up with Metro when charged to make a monoline geometric sans even without taking a look at Futura, but nobody would ever come up with Revis without looking directly at Daphne.

several letterforms have been improved upon

They definitely chickened out when it came to Daphne's gutsy /o/!

ludwiguebele's picture

Well, since his designs are apparently worth reviving, maybe he can be convinced to stop squatting on them and team up with somebody to re-release them legitimately (and hopefully in better quality than Revis).

The last three years me and Georg Salden digitized, reworked and completed 15 of his typefaces: http://www.typemanufactur.com
There are still plenty to go, including Daphne. Anyway, I don't think only because a typeface is not available digitally, that allows anyone to do their own digital version.

it is clearly based on "a/the concept" but several letterforms have been improved

I showed Revis to Georg Salden. Here is his reaction:

"At first glance, it's Daphne, the second one sees a lot of change for the worse. New to me is the phrase 'revival'. Literally it means 'revive'. Now, Daphne was never dead, neither the author. I am just very amazed at the words 'based' and 'reinterpreted'. One interprets something that otherwise would not be understood."

Ludwig

Andreas Stötzner's picture

Have you contacted URW?

ludwiguebele's picture

Not yet. URW knows Georg Salden and his typefaces very well, since they did a lot of type work for him (in the 90ties I believe).

hrant's picture

> The last three years me and Georg Salden

Ah, good. And it sounds like he has a large œuvre and
it's hard to keep up with those who want to swipe this
or that design. It would have been good to have started
in the late 80s :-) but better late then never.

> I don't think only because a typeface is not
> available digitally, that allows anyone to do
> their own digital version.

I myself am a pragmatist; I think taking human nature into
account is better than being a crazed Japanese soldier in a tree.
For example if Salden had little intention of re-releasing his
designs in a currently usable format and simply enjoyed
squatting on them, I wouldn't at all mind seeing somebody
else reintegrate them into culture. I believe everything anybody
makes belongs to Mankind at least a little bit (and sometimes
quite a bit) and there's more to it than simply making money.

hhp

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Hrant wrote:
For example if Salden had little intention of re-releasing his
designs in a currently usable format and simply enjoyed
squatting on them, I wouldn't at all mind seeing somebody
else reintegrate them into culture.

My take:
If an author has NO intention of having his/her creation around forever, that is a choice one has to respect. Who are we to decide what has merit or not?
Culture is also about the stuff that is not around anymore, and the things we will never find out. Mankind has to learn to live with that.

hrant's picture

> that is a choice one has to respect.
> Who are we to decide what has merit or not?

No, I respect something else: reasonableness.
Who are we? We are part of the fabric that produced the work.

Mankind has far less to learn than individuals.

hhp

Andreas Stötzner's picture

Hrant, don’t twist it that way. If URW knows G. Salden personally and they turn to ship this Ripp-off without having talked to him in advance, this is very bold behaviour, to say the least.

Nick Shinn's picture

@Craig: …this case bothers me more because of the particularity of the letterforms… nobody would ever come up with Revis without looking directly at Daphne.

Right.
Having had a similar thing happen to me, I have to say that what grates even more than the appropriation is the “improvements”.

One has the right to cock up one’s own earlier designs with V.2s, but others should have the good grace to wait until one has passed on!

Goran Soderstrom's picture

It’s a **** ripoff. No doubt about it.

Té Rowan's picture

Only four stars, @Goran? Seems to me the rest of the gang has already declared it a five-star ripoff.

Of course, one could also say that Revis is somebody else's opinion on what Daphne should have been like in the first place.

hrant's picture

Andreas, I don't twist. Daphne itself did not arise from a vacuum.

And I'm not defending URW since apparently they made no effort
to get any feedback from Salden on releasing what is in effect a
"remix". But a society spurned by a crazy old man (not Salden)
has more recourse than to feel sorry for itself.

hhp

ludwiguebele's picture

Just to let you know: URW finally no longer offers Revis. And more good news: Daphne is now available digitally. Georg Salden and me worked hard to get all the great features of the original typeface into OTF. Because what Coen Hofmann ignored, is that the original Daphne had a large number of swashes, which optionally can be added to many letters via OpenType feature. I prepared a little GIF animation to show Daphne: http://www.typemanufactur.com/eng/index.html

hrant's picture

Good news indeed (and thanks to your efforts).

hhp

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