Sommerpause

Here at Berlin Typography HQ, we’re always thinking about text in urban spaces … but for the next few weeks, we’re going to be doing it in cities and towns other than Berlin. We’ll be back in a few weeks with all-new posts, but until then we’d like to wish you all a great summer, wherever it may take you. Continue reading

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The Many Faces of the U7

When the U7 was completed in 1984, it was West Berlin’s longest underground line and the one with the greatest number of stations. Many of those stations, constructed at a time when the western half of the newly divided city was attempting to redefine its own urban identity, offered an extraordinary blank canvas for typographic invention. Today a journey in either direction from Mehringdamm – the spiritual, if not quite the literal centre of the line – provides not only a wonderful forensic history of how the line itself came into being, but also a voyage into the heart of a city that, in some sense, no longer exists. Continue reading

Stencil Type in Berlin

The typeface you probably think of when you think of stencils – the one used as shorthand for anything that needs to look military – was originally designed by Robert Hunter Middleton in 1937, and spent the remainder of the twentieth century achieving its own tiresome ubiquity. A dozen years earlier, however, the artist and theorist Josef Albers had started his own investigations into stencil lettering. Continue reading

Blackletter in Berlin

One of the greatest delights of hunting for typography in Berlin – as opposed to, say, in Paris or Los Angeles – is the presence of two very different typographic traditions belonging to the same language. Alongside the familiar Roman characters common throughout Western Europe, the parallel tradition of Blackletter continues to play a defining role in the urban spaces of Germany. Continue reading

Berlin’s Church Typography

Berlin is not Constantinople, nor even is it Rome, but it is nonetheless a city of churches. There are of course a handful of prominent synagogues and even a few notable mosques; but, as with any northern European city that came of age in the aftermath of the Thirty Years War, the ecclesial life of Berlin has been shaped primarily – for better or worse – by Lutheranism, Calvinism and Catholicism. Continue reading