My friend Anja had the honor to chose today’s font. She told me that she pretty much loves the old style fonts, but not really knowing what the font is called. I showed her a picture of it and she happily agreed that this is her favorite font. It is called “Fraktur”.
As the name of the font implements it is a fractured font – gebrochene Schrift.
I guess due to history and the excessive use in the German-speaking countries it is connected with the idea of being THE German font.
Fraktur has a long history. It is a font that was created down in 16th century. Just keep in mind that printing the way we know it was invented in 15th century by the German printer Johannes Gutenberg.
The font bases on handwritings of monks. Some people use to call it “calligraphic handwriting”. The first font for printing in the way of Frakur was cut – it was made out of wood – in 1513 by Hans Schönsperger, an Augsburg based printer. Albrecht Dürer, a famous German painter and Renaissance graphic designer, used that font to print an illustrated book of prayers.
Later on the font was digitalized for computer use.
Year of Design
for computer use in the 1980s
Just one weight.
Other Fraktur fonts come along as “Fette Fraktur” – kind of “Bold Fraktur” and could be used for bold letters. But that is a font on its own.
The Fraktur is a very unique font. As I mentioned before it is fractured or broken.
The letters are not round and smoothly shaped, they have edges and corners. Some letters even don’t look the way we are used to.
Fraktur is based on the Latin Alphabet. Due to its nearly exclusive usage in German-speaking countries we find letters in this font which are not very common in the English language.
There is for example the so called “Eszet” = ß – a letter very common in German. But beside this letter, which you will find in any font suitable for typing German, there is a so called long “S” in this font.
In a way the font reminds me of the so called “Sütterlin”-Handwriting. My mom learned writing that way.
You see a complete Alphabet-Set of Sütterlin, and I wrote the lines:
“This is a text in old-German writing called Sütterlin!
Dies ist ein Text in Sütterlin” (German)
Fraktur is not very common anymore.
It was very popular until the beginning of the 20th century. Later on in 1941 the Nazi-Regime has forbidden the usage of Fraktur and Sütterlin. They claimed that it was usually used by Jewish people, but the main reason could have been that they feared that people in countries they have dreamed to occupy wouldn’t be able to read it.
Nevertheless some books have been printed in Fraktur after 1941. For example some translations of “The Bible” in Germany have been printed in Fraktur until the 1960s.
Some newspapers have their title still printed in Fraktur.
Anyway – it is a difficult font for sure – I mean difficult to read somehow.
Today Fraktur is usually used for decorative printing or for advertising use.
Interestingly some German pubs use Fraktur for the headlines in their menue or for their name. Usually those pubs sever very German dishes.
Yes here it is again – just for you to have a look at the font:
Looks ok in very big letters around 55 pt or even in 35 pt – but heck you can’t read it in 15 pt or 10 pt.
What I like about the font
Yes I like that font somehow.
What I like most is its long tradition.
When I did my research for today’s article I was quite astonished that Fraktur has been used for nearly 500 years! Isn’t that amazing?
I have made up the letter gallery for you.
And you will see that some letters, e.g. A, G, V, v, W, w, Y, y, Z, z are somewhat different to the way we use those letters.