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German Government Style Guide

Photo(s) by Albert-Jan PoolImported from Flickr on Feb 25, 2014.
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Source: http://www.flickr.com. Uploaded to Flickr by Pool Albert-Jan and tagged with “demos” and “praxis”. License: All Rights Reserved.

Stealing sheep by design.

A few years ago, the corporate design guidelines of the German ministries suggested letterspacing lowercase letters as a means to emphasize words. In Germany letterspacing used to be a traditional way of emphasis within texts that were set in Textura, Schwabacher or Fraktur because these typestyles usually do not have corresponding italic styles*. The corporate design manual specifies Gerard Unger’s typefaces Demos and Praxis. Although Demos has an italic style which is suitable to be used for emphasizing, the designers fell back to the “bad habits” of their typographic past.

*Fraktur is in fact a cursive Textura, but Fraktur does not differ enough from Textura in order to use it for typographic emphasis in a text set in Textura. Even for German readers, the capitals of Textura and Fraktur were not legible enough to allow for all caps setting, so emphasis using all caps was not an option. Using bold styles as means of emphasis never really caught on either.


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