This picture was obviously taken long after World War II (on 17 September 2017, to be precise) – but would you be able to tell from the typefaces? Didn’t think so. The most prominent place on this sign is taken by a bold cut of Signal, a typeface by German type designer Walter Wege released in 1931/32. The lettershapes may not exactly match the ones seen in specimens from that time, but there is no doubt that the typeface acted as the model for the sign (and the smaller version in black below). The blue slab serif letters below the left-facing fish are not just from the same period, but from the same year: The bold condensed cut of Memphis, designed by Rudolf Wolf, was released in 1932. If you want to use it digitally, Geometric Slabserif 703 from Bitstream is the only option you have. The black typeface on the awning is not from 1932, but only a few years older: Cooper Black, its italic cut having been released in the late 1920s. All in all: a harmonious whole that consistently uses type from the interwar period and was probably composed in the 1960s or 1970s.
But wait: When you look closely in the left bottom corner of the image, you can find clear proof that it is absolutely impossible that this picture was taken before World War II. Do you see the word ‘Muscheln’ (mussels)? It is set in ITC Bauhaus, a typeface that may have its roots in the same period as Signal, Memphis and Cooper, but that in this version only became available in the mid-1970s. A better picture of the green neon sign and the banner below reveals the use of Arial and some more Cooper Black. Welcome back in the present.