When Letterers Had All The Fun

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Type Treasures: Schriften-Schatz, Eine Sammlung Praktischer Alphabete Für Berufszeige Aller Art (Fonts Treasure, a collection of Practical Alphabets for Professional Branches of All Kinds)—Otto Maier, Ravensburg, Germany, ca 1890, edited by Albert Schiller, who created specimen and sample lettering books for sign painters—is a marvel of functional and aesthetic ornament.

With printers as the audience and the designers among them as the target, these plates offer a variety of different type and lettering options. The original portfolio features 80 plates with amazingly diverse alphabets, printed in black, red, green and gold, and sometimes combinations of those colors. They represent Roman, Gothisch, Fraktur, Script, Free fonts, Initials, and Foreign Language examples too.

Lettering and typography was so essential in the emerging modern world of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that Otto Maier, a typefoundry, was quick to issue these style guides to supplement the metal typefaces offered to their advertising and business clients. It must have been a lot of fun making letters then with such flare and flourish.

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