text on 'jobbing' fonts?

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Looking for info on how the sans serif came about in Germany. Everything up to and including Akzidenz. Yes I know technically the first sans' sprung up in the British Isles, but really it was in Germany where the idea started to take root. All I've been able to find out is that somehow it morphed out of the black-letter/fraktur model.

The mid to late 1800's was an incredibly fertile time for typeface development. It's a shame there is not more widely available info about it out there.

And what's with that term 'jobbing font,' anyway? Does the word 'job' have a different meaning in Germany? If a sign painter made an advertising sign in slab serif or 'brush script,' would he still not be completing a 'job' for someone?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I think, in this context, “jobbing” means a reliable workhorse.

HVB's picture

I would imagine that Gropius' Bauhaus, with Herbert Bayer et al, had a major impact.

- Herb

Michel Boyer's picture

From the OED (online) Jobbing (adj)

1. That does odd jobs; employed by the job; employed in odd or occasional pieces of work. Freq. (esp. in later use) depreciatively implying reduced quality and a lack of commitment.

hrant's picture

The mid to late 1800's was an incredibly fertile time for typeface development.

You said it brother. For one thing they made better Italics than us. A must-read BTW is Ovink's "Nineteenth-century reactions against the didone type model" in Quærendo.


Michel Boyer's picture

I am not sure everyone has the same story, but here is one that looks interesting. It is in Russian but translating with Google may give you useful hints.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Akzidenz is similar to the concept of ‘jobbing’, eg anything that comes along in the daily practice of a commercial printer. Look into the jargon of printing and you will be educated…

(Example: in Dutch that short line on a new page is called a ‘hoerenjong’ — whore’s kid. In English…)

Té Rowan's picture

@BV – It is so in the Nordic countries as well, just like bread-text instead of bodytext.

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