Visitors to TypeOff.de often ask for further information regarding blackletter type, its history and development, as well as its current use. Below are a list of links that I have assembled to try and help designers navigate through the topic. Please note that while this page does not descibe the history or classification of blackletter typefaces, it does link to several resources that do.
The “Blackletter: Type and National Identity” Exhibition
Several books were published alongside this exhibition, held at Cooper Union in New York in 1998, including the color piece Blackletter: Type and National Identity, by Paul Shaw and Peter Bain. American residents can purchase the book from them over Amazon; International customers may order the book from Peter Bain directly, and pay via PayPal. There is also a catalog by the same name, which seems to be out of print: Blackletter: Type & National Identity; Catalogue of the Exhibition, also by Paul Shaw and Peter Bain.
The Calligraphers Guild published a double-issue for the exhibition entitled “The Calligraphic Tradition in Blackletter Type,” SCRIPSIT Summer 1999: Volume 22, Numbers 1 and 2, by Paul Shaw. Copies of this is available here and here.
Christina Paoli’s Mexican Blackletter was initially designed as a graduate student project. Several years ago, this was discussed on Typophile, in the thread Blackletter in Mexico. Image uploaded by Christina Paoli to Typophile.com
Fraktur: Form und Geschichte der gebrochenen Schriften was written by Albert Kapr and published by the Verlag Hermann Schmidt, Mainz in 1993. In my opinion, this is still the best resource in any language for learning about the history and breadth of blackletter typefaces. The book is about the same size as Robert Bringhurst’s Elements of Typographic Style, so I have them next to each other on my bookshelf. Sometimes, I even refer to it as the “Elements of Blackletter Style.” The book’s text is German, with black and white illustrations.
Albert Kapr’s 1993 history of blackletter, with close-up to the right. Also from the Verlag Hermann Schmidt is Fraktur mon Amour, a prayerbook-style catalog of blackletter types old and new. Personally, I would find this book a much better resource if it discussed the quality levels of some of the fonts displayed. Free fonts—some of rather poor technical quality—are displayed side by side with professionally-produced fonts. Readers are not able to get a good sense for which fonts will actually work in their design processes and environments.
Some alternate views on the development of blackletter in general, and of fraktur in particular, may be found in the books of Gerrit Noordzij: The Stroke: Theory of Writing (top left, and right) and LetterLetter (bottom left).
Just a few of the digital blackletter typefaces that are also good:
- P22 Bastyan, by Frau Jenson
- Fakir, by Underware
- Ferox, by Miles Newlyn
- Fette Gotisch, from Linotype
- Givry, by Tom Grace (Type Together)
- Kaas, by Hugo d’Alte (Village)
- Moyenage, by František Štorm
- Sabbath Black, by Miles Newlyn (Emigre)
- Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch, by Rudolf Koch (originally for Gebr. Klingspor)
- The TypeOff. Blackletter Pages Category
- Ignaz Textura
- Ignaz Lombard
- Lombardic Lettering at Chartres
- Stone-carved blackletters at Strasbourg
- New P22 Blackletter fonts
- Inside the library at the Gutenberg Museum, from the Linotype Matrix, Vol. 4 Issue 2
- Rudolf Koch’s Das Schreiben als Kunstfertigkeit
- Rudolf Koch’s Deutsche Schriftfamilie
- The Klingspor Foundry’s Wallau Specimen
- Berthold Wolpe Exhibit in Mainz
- Instructions for setting Blackletter typefaces in English and German
- Blackletter Today flickr group
- Gebrochene Schrift page on the German TypoWiki
- Blackletter Entry in the Typophile Wiki
- Textura Entry in the Typophile Wiki
- Schwabacher Entry in the Typophile Wiki
- Fraktur Entry in the Typophile Wiki
- Entry for the Fette Fraktur typeface in the Typophile Wiki
- Entry for German Nationalism in the Typophile Wiki
That’s it for now! If you have a link suggestion for this site, send it to us at info that symbol typeoff dot de.