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Joerg Schmitt is constantly searching for new ideas for typefaces. At the moment he is working for the global brandin… read more
At the moment I am workin… read more
At the moment I am working for the global branding agency Interbrand Zintzmeyer & Lux in Cologne. Obviously, I am constantly searching for new ideas for typefaces.
What was the challenge in developing a typewriter-family? What was the original idea?
The birth of the monospaced types dates back to the past. There was a need for the creation of typesets for typewriters. The difficulty was to align the different glyphs in the same width. This led to particular problems with letters like "M" and "l"; the former seemed to be squeezed into the same width of all letters and the second one appeared way too streched. Despite - or perhaps because of - the impression of the typewriter is still popular with Graphic Designers. Nowadays there are even monospaced versions of primarily proportional types; for example the the Sans Mono designed by Lucas de Groot or the DIN Mono.
Then again, why not the other way round?! In the first half of the Nineties, Erik Spiekermann developed a proportional type named ITC Officina based on the Letter Gothic. According to a survey on the 100 best fonts of all time conducted by FontShop, ITC Officina is in an eighth place, far ahead of its forerunner. This was the reason for me to create a wider design with a Serif and a Sans Serif based on the queen of all monospaced types – the Courier.
The evolution from a monospaced typeface to a proportional Sans Serif type is rather uncommon. Has this been intentional from the beginning or was it some kind of creative interplay between the monospace and the proportional typeface? In other words: was the process a linear one or rather reminiscent of a ping pong process?
The idea to create a proportional type with the impression of the Courier was intentional from the start. After a short research, I discovered that even the Officina was influenced by a typewriter. So the idea to create a proportional type out of a monospaced was not only a thing that I thought would work well, but one that already existed. In the end the Hellschreiber is influenced by the fact that the Officina also has a Serif and a Sans. Just the process worked the other way around – at first I created the Serif and afterwards the Sans came out of it.
Can you describe its relation to the Courier typeface, which was in a certain way a reference?
The Hellschreiber is an independent font that transfers the impression of the Courier. Compared to its precursor it is highly legible which is not only visible because of its proportionality but also thanks to the true italics which make it easy to accentuate certain parts of the text.
How did you come up with the name?
My father works as a Biologist, and I remember the day when he came home and told me, that he had discovered a new bacteria culture. I told him that he should name it after me – which I really meant because I was a little boy – and I was really depressed when he told me he wouldn't. Today, I am very glad that it wasn't named after me. Maybe my father thought, it to be sufficient that he already named one cluster of cells after me. I was of the same opinion after I saw the first drawings, and I was searching for a name that would suit better than "Schmitt Sans" or "Schmitt Serif". So I named it "Telegraph" which referred to the Courier and I kept it until the end. Sadly the name is already used very often, so I decided to name it after a different kind of telegraph: Hellschreiber (German).
How would you describe the particular qualities of Hellschreiber?
I think the combination of Serif and Sans Serif makes the font family very special. Especially the italics are pretty unique and make the font even more beautiful because of its different impression.
Finally, please tell us a bit about your future projects.
I realized that I mostly enjoy the strategical process while drafting. I think it is always valuable to be able to explain what motivates one and to give insight into the whys and wherefores of something.