An independent archive of typography.
to participate.




Delta FX

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Jan 1st, 2014. Artwork published in .
    Delta FX 1
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

    Poster by Blondi (van der Weijde & Patel), referencing Une semaine de bonté (1934)an artist’s book by Max Ernst. Published in an edition of 20 of each color.

    Don’t set blackletter fonts in all-caps. Stay clear of fugly freefonts. Don’t pair two typefaces that are very similar in style. All these rules have been broken in this design. The typeface used for ‘MAX ERNST’ is Delbanco’s version of Normal-Fraktur, the most common Fraktur style in Germany in the 19th century.

    The bigger type is something else, though — compare ‘A’, ‘E’, ‘S’, ‘T’. This is Moderne Fraktur, a late 1990s creation by Dieter Steffmann. In this freebie, Steffmann attempts to “romanize” several of the most outlandish fraktur letterforms, in order to make them more legible: ‘G’ loses its top right entry stroke, the head of ‘K’ is dissolved in favor of a diagonal arm, ‘V’ and ‘W’ are opened at the top and ‘Y’ closed at the baseline, etc. The resulting typeface is neither fish nor fowl, and the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

    It’s fun to speculate about the reasoning for this mix of a faithful revival and its bastard offspring in this use. Is it some sophisticated artsy concept? Or was it the ‘I’ in ‘SEMAINE’ when the designers realized that Normal-Fraktur in all-caps would be really hard to decipher, and when they decided to switch to a related typeface with more Roman-like letterforms? The ‘I’ in Moderne Fraktur with its long “serifs” may be better readable to the untrained eye, but for anyone who is familiar with blackletter, it reads as a ‘T’: ‘SEMATNE’

    Delta FX 2
    Source: License: All Rights Reserved.


    • Normal-Fraktur
    • Modern Blackletter




    Artwork location

    In Sets

    1 Comment on “Delta FX”

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful analysis, Florian. I designed this poster. Your writing here asks the questions I welcome about any work I do – those about professional and amateur typography alike, sociocultural legibility, reading habits, and the inexact way history is written as a result. Because I understand these conventions is why I feel qualified to bend (and break) them.


    Post a comment