• Steven Heller

Type in the Nazi State

As one sees in leading type foundry advertisements found in design and printing magazines after 1933, the graphics professions quickly conformed to the decrees of the Nazi party. These ads focused on “volk” lettering (various iterations of Fraktur), ignoring the unsanctioned sans serif or modern faces.

Klingspor and Bauer, two of the largest German type foundries, sold a large amount of the spiky black letter, although they tried hard to keep their wares from being politicized. This was quite apparent in the annual almanacs published as gifts to customers. It’s interesting to see the vintage styling in the 1933 book compared with the slightly more moderne 1929 edition (bottom two images). Not a huge change, but subtle shifts in the weight of the lettering were probably responses to the new Chambers of Culture that governed everything from film to graphic design.

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