Berthold Wolpe was a German calligrapher, typographer, designer and illustrator. Wolpe’s precise strokes, towering ascenders and gestural serifs earned him a name in the early 20th Century and his hugely varied designs could be seen everywhere in the UK from street signs to book covers (especially those of Faber & Faber). However, with the rise of digital typesetting technologies, Wolpe’s more antiquated work faded into the background slightly. More than half a century later and Wolpe is back thanks to Montotype’s redesign and digitisation of five of his most distinctive typefaces (detailed below), each “restored and rejuvenated for a multitude of modern-day uses.”
The Wolpe Collection is a continuation of Wolpe’s work but aims to untether the typefaces from their pre-digital era by adding back serifs, curves and angles that are more suited to modern-day design. The project was brought to life by Monotype designer Toshi Omagari who has authentically recreated each one, even going back to Wolpe’s original drawings to reflect each typeface’s idiosyncrasies whilst also salvaging their deliberate quirks. “The inconsistencies in Wolpe’s designs were freeing in the sense that it taught me to challenge conventional design and rethink how typefaces should be constructed,” says Omagari. The newly digitised typefaces include “lost letterforms as well as new weights, alternate characters and expanded language support.”
The release of The Wolpe Collection is also being marked with an exhibition devoted to the designer entitled The Wolpe Exhibition. Running at the Type Archive in South London from this Friday until 30 October, Fridays to Mondays. It includes both the new Wolpe Collection as well as archive materials such as sketches, notes and book jacket designs. You can see more of what’s included in the exhibition in Monotype’s short film celebrating the launch here.
Albertus Nova is a typeface made for modern, global applications, such as video games. It’s both classic and authoritative featuring five weights: Thin, Light, Regular, Bold and Black.
Wolpe Fanfare is a modern, light and energetic font and its rejuvenation builds off the personality of its predecessor which was designed for Fanfare Press in 1935. It has graced the covers of hundreds of books due to its ability to lift letters of the baseline. The digital version is great for display use due to its sharp resolution and also comes in a condensed version of smaller caps to expand titling options.
Wolpe Pegasus was originally commissioned by Monotype in 1937 as the companion to the Albertus design and takes advantages of the same inconsistencies. For example, characters that would conventionally share details, such as b, d, p and q, don’t share them in this set. Additionally, some serifs in the uppercase alphabet of the Pegasus typeface are different.
This extravagant font was originally created for use on book jackets by Fanfare Press and despite being designed in the 1930s, still remains modern and contemporary.
Sacshenwald is a geometric gothic type and Monotype has digitised the typeface for the first time, adding an alternate “X” character in order to make the set more legible. Monotype saw the opportunity to revive this particular design and bring it into the modern era as blackletter usage has become increasingly more commonplace in areas such as publishing, fashion and album covers.
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