Type Archive: Wolpe
(Toshi Omagari who was present at the exhibition had digitalised the typefaces by Wolpe below.)
Before visiting the Type Archive I had a quick look online about Berthed Wolpe’s work and the typefaces he had designed. Wolpe wasn’t a designer I had heard of before. I had a understanding of each typeface designed before entering the exhibition, however it was good to see how these had been incorporated into design work to give me a whole new understanding of each typeface and the message he wanted to convey through each one.
To see original productions drawing for the Alberts typeface was very interesting especially seeing the measurements and intricate hand drawn work, something that is is very overlooked in design as we are now used to grabbing typefaces we feel fit and not thinking about the history and story behind them.
Seeing the typeface being used from London street signage to Sainsbury’s packaging to a series of album covers was useful to see how robust it was. The copper patterns of Alberts created during the original production press made me think back to the early stages of typography and back to my learning about letterpresses, again something about the history of type I want to learn more about, as I feel I need to understand it fully to understand the typefaces I’m using in my design work.
One of my favourite typefaces from this exhibition by Wolpe was Sachsenwald.
A blackletter, gothic script typeface that originally fell into the genre that the Nazi regime turned into its signature script in 1930s. Which failed to ignite passion for black letter in wartime Britain.
My keyword/takeaway from this first exhibition would be history. Being the first exhibition we visited it made me think a lot into type history and processes that I started to realise I could easily overlook it.
St Brides Library:
South London lettering arts is the next exhibition we visited. We have been to this exhibition before but this time with some new pieces that I had not seen before. (left) This is one of my favourites pieces from this exhibit. The use of black letter, gothic styled type instantly conveys feelings of propaganda and constructivism. This is also reinforced by the black and red colours, a common combination in propaganda, the star that is centralised and cuts into the text, and the illustration. The illustration is really effective, built up of small white shoes on a black silhouette showing a soldier pointing out at you, similar to the classic American ‘I Want You’ with ‘Uncle Sam’.
Thinking of typography this has shown me how much information a typeface can carry and the history behind it. From the first exhibition looking into Berthed Wolpe’s typefaces, especially Sachsenwald where the Nazi’s used the similar style of type as pictured above in their regime, where extensive propaganda was used to spread the regime’s goals and ideals.
(Attilio Medda – Propaganda)
House of MinaLima:
This was my least favourite exhibition of the three, mainly because I have never seen a Harry Potter film (which seemed to be a sin to the rest of the group) however I didn’t take in the typography around me and the context it was used for.