Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Today's letter is brought to you by the letter: A.
Drescher Grotesk BT, lowercase A, light.
I'm using Drescher Grotesk BT as my personal branding typeface. And when looking through a bunch of type families, the little, lowercase 'a' was one of the letters in Drescher Grotesk BT that really stood out to me. I liked that it didn't have a head (the line that sometimes appears over a lowercase 'a'), I thought that made it feel a little more modern. I was worried that the bowl was overly large, like the quite distinct lowercase 'a' of Futura. I can see Futura's 'a' coming from a mile away. But really, when put into context, Drescher Grotesk's 'a' is appropriately rounded. It wasn't until I blew it up to 350pt for this post that I saw it wasn't perfectly rounded at all!
In fact, this 'a' looks quite like a closed off Omega symbol. Where the bowl meets the stem is quite angular and feels very Russian constructionist. I really enjoy this because it feels as though Drescher Grotesk's lowercase 'a' is both the beginning and the end.
Courtesy of identifont.com, wikipedia.com
Design Foundry: VEB Typoart (original), Bitstream (digital)
Designer: Arno Drescher, Nicolai Gogoli
Date: 1930, 1999-2001
Classification: Geometric Sans-Serif
Nicolai Gogoli revived Drescher's popular typeface Super Grotesk (?) in 1999 (?) as Drescher's Grotesk and received the Kurt Christians Award. (I can find no information about this KC Award online, other than that Gogoli won it in 1999. Anyone ever heard of it / know what it is?) Drescher Grotesk has seven weights (but no italics) including a small size with wider kerning/leading. It also has the right angle brackets that aren't square brackets: [ ] (and they're still different from these smaller <> angle brackets.)
Drescher's original typeface, Super Grotesk (?) had immense popularity in East Germany (where it was designed) as a replacement for Futura. (No wonder the big bowled 'a's are so similar!). My history is rough at best (please feel free to set me straight): VEB Typoart was the only type foundry in East Germany (under Soviet control). It was state-owned and opened in 1948 in Dresden, three years after the controversial Dresden bombings by the U.S and England. Typoart's mission was "to create typefaces for Eastern Germany and other Eastern Bloc countries. It was frequently ordered to plagiarize Western typefaces that Zentrag could not afford to license."