An independent archive of typography.
to participate.




Volksbühne Berlin Flyers and Leaflets

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Oct 4th, 2013. Artwork published in .
    Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

    Posted as an addendum to my blog article about the Volksbühne poster campaign.

    In the blog post, I wrote “Volksbühne is blackletter. Blackletter is Volksbühne.” It should become clear what I meant by that when you take a look at the countless flyers for the events of the current season. LSD Design uses more than a dozen different blackletter typefaces, from all subcategories. They are claiming the whole genre for the Volksbühne identity – and it works, because hardly anyone else dares to use these typefaces.

    There is textura, fraktur, and one bastarda (Zeitungs-Schwabacher). Some are well-known, like Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch, others relatively obscure, like Münchner Gotisch. Linotype Textur is not the only contemporary design: there is also Agincourt (David Quay, 1983) and Avebury (Jim Parkinson, 2005). One could think that each flyer got its own typeface, but that’s not true. Some appear twice, like Haenel Fraktur, some even three times, like Deutsche Reichsschrift.

    There are three exponents of the controversial simplified gotisch or “schaftstiefelgrotesk”: Nürnberg (Ludwig Wagner, 1934), Tannenberg (D. Stempel AG, 1933–35) and National (Ludwig & Mayer, 1933–38). Unlike on the posters, Potsdam does not make an appearance here (yet). Tannenberg (Das Duell, Dancing About) is confusingly similar to National (Kill your Darlings!). Seeing all the elements of the eclectic visual identity in context, I must admit that, from a formal standpoint, it makes sense to include some simpler, unadorned typefaces – blackletter grotesks, so to say – in the mix.

    Der Spieler.jpg
    Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

    The backside of each sticker holds information about the event. This text is presented rather conventionally, in Akzidenz-Grotesk.

    Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

    The showcases on the outside of the Volksbühne building display the monthly program, unfolded. The actual agenda is not in blackletter, but in Akzidenz-Grotesk. The URL and the verso with the Warhol quote is in Deutsche Reichsschrift.

    Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

    The figures on the monthly program leaflets for August/September and October are from Tannenberg Schmalfett.

    Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.
    Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

    The assorted take-away flyers, as they are offered in the Volksbühne foyer.

    5 Comments on “Volksbühne Berlin Flyers and Leaflets”

    1. Oct 5th, 2013  4:23 am

      Where’s the Like It button? Amazing again, congrats

    2. Oct 5th, 2013  6:07 pm

      Thank you, Daniel. Glad that you enjoyed reading it. The “Like” button is visible after you have signed in into your FIU account. You’ll find the button at the top, just below the headline.

    3. Steve Marsh says:
      May 3rd, 2016  4:58 pm

      Where can you purchase some of these blackletter typefaces? A lot of the foundries just bring you to wikipedia pages. Specifically looking for National, Tannenberg and Element.

    4. May 3rd, 2016  7:40 pm

      The article mentions the historic type foundries where these typefaces originally were cast in metal — those are no longer in existence. The typeface pages on Fonts In Use typically list digital versions when available. Element, National and Tannenberg were all digitized by Gerhard Helzel and are available from his (yes, that’s a special UX). Another digital version of Tannenberg can be licensed from Delbanco. For a contemporary take on this genre, see Gandur.

    5. Steve Marsh says:
      May 25th, 2016  3:21 pm

      Thank you! Much appreciated. I did not see that Gerhard had his own page with all of the links.

    Post a comment