Albertus Modification

Albertus is a typeface designed by Berthold Wolpe, a German Jewish designer, in the late 1930s. This decade was a period of great uncertainty and danger for Jews in Europe. Wolpe’s font was influenced by Rudolph Koch, his mentor, a prolific type designer and German nationalist. Koch’s influence is evident in the Albertus letterforms. With tapering ends and elegant strokes, the font reads similarly to one of Koch’s attempts to celebrate and modernize German blackletter.

In my typeface modification, showcased in the following spreads and posters, I explored the font’s quality of (and perhaps Wolpe's desire to) “fitting in” with its German influence and heritage. I took visual cues from the tapering ends and humanist strokes to exaggerate the gestures of the letterforms, creating a drastically different alphabet that breaks with the rigidity of its origins and forms something entirely new. I also use the spreads to examine Wolpe’s story and modern refugee narratives as they relate to Passover, a holiday with major resonance in Jewish history: the importance of fighting for freedom, resilience in the face of oppression, and the contrast between living in a place where you are not accepted as opposed to a place where you are welcomed.

Name: Albertus Modification
Type specimen book and posters 
Year: 2020
Los Angeles, Calif.