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The Wolpe Collection
28th September 2017

The Wolpe Collection

You may not have heard of Berthold Wolpe, but you sure as eggs is eggs would’ve seen his typefaces. His unconventional designs can be found on branding for Sainsbury’s and Liverpool Football Club, the vinyl sleeve of a Beach Boys’ record, the cover of The Great Escape, and street signage for City of London.

In the late-1930s and early-1940s, in the short space of several years, German calligrapher and type designer Berthold Wolpe crafted five typefaces: Albertus Nova, Wolpe Fanfare, Wolpe Pegasus, Wolpe Tempest and Sachsenwald. Although the typefaces are dramatically different, they all share a likeness in their ardent refusal to be geometrically precise. What appears to be inconsistencies and imperfections – certain serifs don’t match, some letters lean a bit and some details simply seem out of place – are in fact deliberate parts of the designs. Berthold, and kudos to him, simply didn’t allow traditional design rules to stand in the way of creating distinctive typefaces.

Today, Monotype announced the revival and release of Berthold’s five classic typefaces. The Wolpe Collection by Monotype is the result of “untethering the typeface from the restrictions of its era, adding back serifs, curves and angles that have a more natural and fitting place in today’s modern design.”

Monotype designer Toshi Omagari first set about creating a new version of the Albertus typeface but it was not until later in the project, when searching through archive material, that Toshi came across sketches for other designs. Unlike Albertus, none of these typefaces had ever been digitised. One by one, Monotype set about creating updated digital versions of each of the fonts.

Berthold’s designs have played a central role in popular culture. The designer created more than 1,500 book jackets and bindings for publishers Faber Faber and Fanfare Press and his designs can also be found in films and video games and on signage across the world. The Wolpe Collection by Monotype will only see this continue!

Wolpe Collection, Faber Covers, Sachsenwald
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