Riting Rite and Rong

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Lucian Bernhard came to the United States from Germany, where the language is not much easier to learn than English (in fact, it’s considerably more difficult). His own Germanglish was adequate but he long sought to make reading more efficient. His Fonotyp was designed to be a practical typographic writing system that helped to spell English words as they sounded. This meant removing the silent letters that drive even native-born Americans crazy.

Bernhard designed dozens of typefaces in Germany and the United States (Bernhard Gothic, for instance) and invented Magnetype, a precursor to photolettering. But this was his first experimental attempt. It was not a success.


The 2017 PRINT RDA: Enter Now!

Enter the most respected competition in graphic design—now open to both pros and students—for a chance to have your work published, win a pass to HOW Design Live, and more. 2017 Judges: Aaron Draplin / Jessica Hische / Pum Lefebure / Ellen Lupton / Eddie Opara / Paula Scher. Student work judges: PRINT editorial & creative director Debbie Millman and PRINT editor-in-chief Zachary Petit.

Draplin image: Leah Nash. Hische: Helena Price. Lupton: Michelle Qureshi. Scher: Ian Roberts.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →