Type Anatomy: Alex Hagen

This is an example of typography found in The Fleuron, a journal of typography. This particular example is a piece created by Peter Behrens.

Looking through the various documents in the MASC, one that really caught my eye was this typography example I found in the book The Fleuron. I was entranced by the eye-catching and bold forms and shapes, as well as the contrasting colors. This specific example would not be out of place in a Soviet propaganda poster and was my first impression when seeing it.

I’m not really sure how this lettertype was made; the text is a reproduction of the original work, and any indication of exactly how it was made seems to be lost in translation. I think that it was probably typed rather than handwritten, however. The lack of variation in letter differences seems to indicate a level of reproduction that would be near-impossible to create by hand.

I think that this typeface provides a strong visual presence due to the strong geometry of the letter shapes. Each form is very geometric in shape and seems to fit a modular design. All the letters are uppercase, with no lowercase examples to be found. All the letters sit on the baseline, with no examples of the letters falling beneath it. The x-height seems to be very centralized in the letter; the text doesn’t seem to be skewed up or down. The combination of thick, upright text and a wide set width create the impression that this text is very loud, serious or both.

Something that I found intriguing was the way that this typeface designer handled the letter curves. On closer inspection, many of the curves (such as the G, the P, and the S are good examples) are diagonal lines rather than smooth curves. This further accentuates the geometric aspect and modularity of this typeface.


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