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“German Bold Italic” – Towa Tei ft. Kylie Minogue and Haruomi Hosono

Contributed by Thiago on Feb 14th, 2019. Artwork published in
September 1997
.
    Cover of the original CD release by Elektra / Akashic Records (Japan, 1997)
    Source: https://www.discogs.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover of the original CD release by Elektra / Akashic Records (Japan, 1997)

    GBI (German Bold Italic)” is a 1997 song by Japanese American music producer Towa Tei. It features vocals from Australian singer Kylie Minogue, who co-wrote the song with Tei, and from Japanese musician Haruomi Hosono. It is the lead single from Tei’s second studio album, Sound Museum (1997). The song is a “minimalist” house-techno track, with lyrics written from the point of view of a typeface called “German Bold Italic”.

    The typeface was actually made, and is used in the cover art. It was designed by Tei’s long-time collaborator designing team, Tycoon Graphics for Graphickers. The font file was included in the data track of the Sound Museum CD as a bonus feature, and was available for download on Tei’s and Minogue’s official website. It can still be found in the archived version of the latter.

    What follows is an excerpt from the lyrics, which might help you appreciate the typeface if you can’t listen to the song right now.

    (Hello) My name is German Bold Italic
    I am a typeface
    Which you have never heard before
    Which you have never seen before
    I can compliment you well
    Especially in red
    Extremely in green
    Maybe in blue (blue, blue)
    You will like my sense of style (×4)
    Gut ja! Ow!
    […]

    I fit like a glove
    Let me adorn you
    The bold design of you
    One, two, three!

    Cover of the original CD release by Elektra / Akashic Records (Japan, 1997)
    Source: https://www.discogs.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover for the first CD by Arthrob (UK, 1998) including the Sharp Boys remix.

    Cover of the original CD release by Elektra / Akashic Records (Japan, 1997)
    Source: https://www.discogs.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover for the second CD by Arthrob (UK, 1998) including remixes by DJ Krust and Shy FX.

    Cover of the original CD release by Elektra / Akashic Records (Japan, 1997)
    Source: https://www.cdandlp.com Image: Popfair. License: All Rights Reserved.

    MC cover by Arthrob (UK, 1998) with a mini specimen on the back.

    Typefaces

    • GBI
    • Futura Extra Bold
    • Helvetica

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    3 Comments on ““German Bold Italic” – Towa Tei ft. Kylie Minogue and Haruomi Hosono”

    1. Feb 14th, 2019  12:11 pm

      A classic, and the topic of one of the questions in Berlin’s Typostammtisch quiz in 2012! Thanks for posting, Thiago.

      It looks like the designers wanted to use a real “German Bold Italic” for the extra info on the stickers. Futura Extra Bold Italic of course is bold and italic, but strictly speaking, it’s not German: Futura Extra Bold wasn’t part of the original Futura series by the Bauer foundry in Frankfurt. It was added by Edwin W. Shaar for Intertype in the US in 1952, based to Paul Renner’s design. The oblique followed in 1955, made by Shaar together with Tommy Thompson.

    2. Thiago says:
      Feb 14th, 2019  1:53 pm

      Going by the Glyphs panel in Word and the digital font linked here, the specimen on the back is nearly complete, missing only certain symbols:

      Note that the font does not support German.

    3. Feb 14th, 2019  4:14 pm

      100% YES TO THIS POST

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