TypograFriday: Fraktur, Part 3

Because you demanded it: the third and final section of me talking about blackletter incessantly! I hereby promise a moratorium until at least January! In this section, finally, 10 great contemporary experimental hybrids that incorporate elements from this traditional calligraphic form with roman shapes to awesome effect.


Credits and commentary after the jump.

Factory, by Gareth Hague (Alias) • This is the first fraktur I fell for back in 1999, and the first I saw that went light enough to escape “blackletter”ness. Its proportions are very elegant and its incorporation of calligraphic strokes into a clean, DIN-like sans is lovely.

Fakir, from Underware • Like everything Underware releases, this is incredibly crafted, jaunty and excellent. It has a bunch of weights and variations (two shown here because I couldn’t decide which was best. In it’s light forms, it’s interesting to see their thought as to what the underlying geometry of a blackletter type is in monoline, stripped of its heavy calligraphic pen.

Blackhaus, from CanadaType • It’s fascinating to me that a mix between something as dangerous as a jackboot fraktur and as cold as a square, techno/Eurostile-y sans becomes something legible and even sort of friendly. I love that despite how much its basic forms are Roman, it keeps blackletter’s odd descenders like that ‘h.’

Aeronaut, from Facetype • This one isn’t really a hybrid so much, (though those diamond barbed terminals may have been on woodtypes before frakturs in the victorian age, I am not positive) but it’s brand new and #18 on myfonts’ hot charts right now. I’m hardly surprised: It’s pretty rad, cheap, and has a separate font for layering the ornamentation in a second color.

Adhesive No. 7, from Phospho • This one is a sturdy jackboot fraktur built out of torn strips tape. Actually I really like its forms, and the grungy texture is either a bonus or a liability, depending on if you’re using this to make effin ed hardyesque shirts or for some more appropriate use.

Bastard, by Jonathan Barnbrook (Virus) • The lowercase is sort of eh, but Barnbrook’s geometric-fragment caps endear his effort to me tremendously. They’re terrific and their balance of thicks and thins is so well done.

Keks, by Hubert Jocham • Although I love factory more, I must admit every time I look at type set in Keks I think “this is the freshest, most contemporary face I have ever seen.” If I had a client who wanted their piece to seem very futuristic, who knew that sans were yesterday’s way to say modern and slabs were ideal for the moment, but wanted even more forward-facing? Keks. Maybe it’s the London 2012ness of it.

Metalista, from Suitcase • Not that heavy metal doesn’t already interbreed with blackletter, this hex-based design feels like a wall of noise waiting to happen. Also with its rigid geometry, it’d work for setting type in honeycomb style. Logo for your new band, SWARM OF DEATH? Here ya go.

Gothic Gothic, from Typeco • As with Blackhaus, I am surprised to find that the sum of a blackletter and a sort of annoying techno-porsche-y face is something really interesting and considered. A design problem solved cleverly in almost every character.

Brea, from Umbrella Type • For something that started calligraphic, it’s only natural that eventually people would try building blackletters out of bits and dots.

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