The word Typostammtisch is difficult to translate into English, much less settle on a proper plural (Typostammtische?). So I will continue to refer to this concept with its natural moniker. A Stammtisch is a regular meeting at a bar. At a Typostammtisch, one eschews talk of politics or of one’s favorite football club in favor of Typo—not a spelling error, but a short German word that may encompass just about everything relating to typography, type design, and lettering.
Last night, a number of students and designers in Saarbrücken inaugurated their own Typostammtisch. By the official count, this is the third regional Typostammtisch in Germany, after Offenbach and Berlin. It remains unclear whether or not there are also Typostammtische in Cologne and/or the Ruhr Valley. Hopefully, someone from the Rhein will pop up and set us straight. There is also a long-term on again, off again Stammtisch in Mainz. But the jury is out on whether that constitutes a Typostammtisch, or a Stammtisch full of graphic designers who also discuss type.
Feeling about Typostammtische in the godfatherly way that I do, I could not resist attending the birth of a new member of the club. I read about it just a few days ago in spatium Magazin. Unfortunately, the rail connection between Saarbrücken and just about anywhere else in Germany leaves a lot to be desired. I managed to get to the city on time; but what would be a two-hour car trip from Offenbach turns into an overnight journey if your rely on the train system. Saarbrücken itself it quite a gem, though. The capital of Germany’s smallest state, it and the Saarland are tucked into the lower-left corner of the country. Along the French border, it is close to little else.
Spearheaded by the HBK Saar typography professor Indra Kupferschmid, the Saarbrücken Typostammtisch comes along at just the right time. Students from Saarbrücken (and not-so-far-away Trier) had been making the trek to Offenbach for our Typostammtische with some regularity. While I still hope that they continue these visits, everyone should have their own Typostammtisch, right?
My highlight of the evening was flipping through a small typeface booklet put together by the Jahoda & Siegel printers. They were in Vienna, during the 1930s I suspect. Patrick Bittner had purchased this artefact, and brought it along with him to the Typostammtisch (and a number of other books, too). I posted a few photos of the evening on Flickr. A few of the book pages can be seen. Perhaps other attendees will upload and tag their photos as well…