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Jazz Jamboree 68 poster

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Mar 28th, 2021. Artwork published in
October 1968
Jazz Jamboree 68 poster
Source: STGU. License: All Rights Reserved.

In 1967, Bronisław Zelek used Hermes-Grotesk for a morbid movie poster, see the post contributed by Stéphane Darricau. A year later, he worked with the same typeface for a very different design: the poster for Jazz Jamboree 68 is as multicolored as it is cheerful. Most text is shown rotated, running from the top to the bottom, or in the opposite direction. Apart from Hermes, the second element that’s prominently featured in both posters is a human ear. The other typefaces include Futura (top) and its local epigone Paneuropa. The condensed sans used for “Jazz Jamboree 68” (with upside-down 8) is unidentified.

Hermes-Grotesk originated at the Woellmer foundry in Berlin in the 1910s. The company was dissolved even before the war, in 1938. Hermes was taken over by Schriftguss, which in turn was merged into Typoart in 1951. The nationalized East-German foundry didn’t continue the design, and Hermes hence didn’t see a lot of domestic use in the second half of the 20th century. In Poland, however, it apparently was still being cast by Warszawska Odlewnia Czcionek, the successor to Idźkowski: Their Blok series comprised three styles that appear to be adaptations of Hermes; Blok smukły (eng, i.e. extra condensed), ściągły (schmal fett, or bold condensed), and ciężki (heavy, i.e. the original style used here). It was completed by a fourth style, Blok Apis, which is a copy of Berthold’s Enge Block. This availability in a country with a limited supply of typefaces made Hermes a popular choice among Polish poster artists in the 1960s and 1970s, see also the works by Ryszard Kiwerski. At least Blok ściągły was produced for dry transfer lettering by the Polish Letraset equivalent Kalgraf.


  • Hermes-Grotesk
  • Futura
  • Paneuropa
  • unidentified typeface




Artwork location

2 Comments on “Jazz Jamboree 68 poster”

  1. Here’s the Blok series as shown in a specimen issued by Jan Idźkowski i S-ka, Rejtana 16, Warsaw, probably in the late 1930s.

    Blok ściągły corresponds to the schmal fett of Woellmer’s Hermes-Grotesk, ciężki to the original bold style, and smukły is Hermes-Grotesk eng. Blok Apis is the eng style from Berthold’s Block series.

    Reproduced from Hans Reichardt: Bleisatzschriften des 20. Jahrhunderts, vol. 2. Offenbach: Spatium (2008).

  2. On his blog, Marcin Marciniak shares an image of a Kalgraf sheet with a version of Blok ściągły for dry-transfer lettering, in lowercase letters of 72pt, produced in 1978.

    There was a smaller size and uppercase letters, too:

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