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You are here: Home / Conferences / Amsterdam 2013 / Presentation programme

A Mid-century Modernist Lettering Manual

When Thu 10 Oct 1340
Where Krasnapolsky B
What History/Education
Who Peter Bain

Appearing in the middle of the twentieth century, Helvetica and Univers were notable for their respective styling and systemization of Latin letterforms. One particular lettering manual, published in Switzerland in 1949, was part of a conversation on letterform design at that time. This Swiss manual was Walter Käch's "Schriften/Lettering/Ecritures," which deserves to be more widely known. Adrian Frutiger has described Käch as one of the teachers who strongly influenced his development. The manual presents ideas that were successfully realized in both typeface families. These include horizontal stroke endings, subtle contrast, and grids for modular letterform construction. While individual aspects of Käch's manual appear in antecedent sources, it is notable that they are brought together here, arguably for the first time. This presentation will focus on Käch's discussion of drawn lettering and his sans serif exemplars. As an important modernist lettering manual, "Schriften/Lettering/Ecritures" establishes a conversation between typeface designers, typefounders, and those who were drawing letters in a typographic age.

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