Paul Christ is a graphic and type designer from Munich 🍺.
While commuting through the city of Munich, I regularly pass by signs and letterings. I decided to digitally sketch out some of them to further understand the design and idea behind it. Combined with reading about the context of the objects I can explore the city and its history.
1. Postamt an der Tegernseer Landstrasse (Image: IADDB);
2. Städtisches Stadtion an der Grünwalder Strasse (Image: 11km.de);
Séance is a typeface inspired by esoteric movements and their special relationship to geometry, numbers and systems. It is mixing rational mathematics and human interpretation and draws from the peculiar dynamics inside spiritual and occult groups. While the family is systematically based on the pythagorean proportions of 3, 4 and 5, the system leaves room for subjective decisions. The result is a mathematically constructed grotesque und 4 weights with a strangely organic feeling.
“Cosmos, noun. The universe, especially when it is thought of as an ordered system.”
Inspired by spiritual movements, such as the “Theosophical Society” or the “vegetarian colony Monte Verità,” this project explores the background of geometry, numbers and systems in the arts and in design.
The result is a book consisting of three parts. It begins with the presentation of the research material and continues with a practical exploration of geometrical figures and their proportions. The third chapter applies my insights on the development of a proportional system which forms the base of the typeface family used throughout the book. The system plays with the idea of rules in esoteric and occult societies which often imply to be based on a higher meaning and seem to be untouchable, while in reality many of the rules are very subjective and often even opportunistic.
This project originated from a sketch I found while researching F. H. Ehmcke’s work at Museum Klingspor in Offenbach around one year ago. Back then I was looking in his “Latein”, a monolinear slab serif from the 1920s. In one of the specimens there is an essay in which he reflects on the New Typography: He traces the origins of this movement by comparing communist ideas to the nature of this new style of designing. The individual shapes looses its meaning while it becomes the task of the designer to distibute masses of text in a layout and work on the hierarchy to make them appealing to new masses of readers.
“A typeface is not only the characteristic expression of an individual; it can also be the characterological expression of an epoch,” Paul Renner wrote once.
While working on a typeface revival in the first year of MATD, I was looking into the Private Press Movement and stumbled across “pixel-based” letterings designed by J.L.M. Lauweriks (1864–1932). I found the square, which he is using throughout his architectural, typographical and ornamental work, weirdly futuristic yet crafty at the same time.
What started out as an interest in pixel-based typefaces quickly became an investigation of the geometrical design approach practiced by a group of spiritually influenced artists from the Netherlands. How did his work and the work of his students transcend through the design and craft of the following decades? Is there something of Lauweriks’ pre-modernist work that relates to the post-war design and even that of contemporary artists and designers? Could there be formal or conceptual elements that are knowingly or unknowingly adapted across disciplines and technological developments?
In an interview with Dimitri Bruni (NORM) we are discussing the spiritual and philosophical aspect to their practice today and why numbers and proportions play such a large role in their process.
Monty is a text typeface inspired by British humour and its absurdity. The unusual features and round terminals create a lively texture when set in text,while at large sizes the curvy details and sharp corners come to show. The typeface is available at ECAL Typefaces in two weights, Light and Bold.
Reinterpretation of the typeface Offizin by Walter Tiemann from 1951. The original specimen described it as a Gebrauchsantiqua (all purpose antiqua) and praised its clear character. I decided to focus and expand on some of its unusual features, such as the flipped proportions. The specimen shows a text on the utopist architect Yona Friedman written by Sebastian Beinhofer.
In my first year at ECAL, I reinterpreted a slab serif from the 1920s, emphasizing the geometric construction used by F. H. Ehmcke. He had already worked on a geometric grotesque in 1915, around ten years before the release of Paul Renner’s Futura or Jakob Erbar’s Grotesk. The typeface never got released, but some years later in 1925 Ehmcke released his Latein which was called an “Antiqua-Grotesk” with Ludwig & Mayer.
Hotbits is a collection of different pixel based designs and technologies ranging from romanesque churches to 90s videotext. The book is split into two sections. The first gives the viewer the possibility to discover the grid behind the design and more background information about it. The second part is a free graphic exploration of the systems found. The project was guided by Julia Born at ECAL.