London Typographic Exhibition Trip

The Wolpe Collection

The Wolpe Collection was a typographic exhibition of Berthold Wolpe’s work who was an extremely popular typographic artist back in the 20th century, particularly in the world war period. The reason he was so popular was due to his uniqueness as he could draw letters! Sounds stupid however this is a niche skill as everything is calculated perfectly. He created 5 different typefaces named, Albertus (the most known typeface), Fanfare, Pegasus, Sachsenwald and Tempest. Albertus has been used on some road signs around London as shown in the photograph below.

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The exhibition showed Wolpe’s original artwork, his sketches/ mockups and also the digitalised/ refurbished versions which were done by a guy known as Toshi Omagari who took the whole class around the exhibition for a very interesting tour guide.

The one thing that really caught my eye in the exhibition was the fact that everything Wolpe had drawn was all by hand and measurements, nothing could’ve been rescaled with help of a computer as back in the 20th century technology wasn’t as advanced. Looking at this alphabet that Wolpe drew in extremely small scaled sized amazed me how he could’ve made the measurements exactly perfect when the letters are downsized. Wolpe was asked to make his typeface of a small ‘point’ size, we all find that extremely easy nowadays as we just change the point size in a word document or however, whereas back then Wolpe would’ve had to re-draw the letters with the correct measurements. This shows his eye to detail as everything was perfect, nothing was out of place.

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In conclusion of the exhibition, I found it was fascinating that the typography had been drawn in different scales as people couldn’t just easily increase or decrease the size of type. This really was an eye opener for me, there were different variations throughout his typefaces and people would have to buy his typefaces at different ‘point’ sizes, e.g. 10pt, 11pt, 12pt. It made me realise how fortunate we are nowadays to have the technology which can do this automatically for us. Below are some extra photographs I took whilst in the exhibition.

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St Bride’s Library

As I have visited St Bride’s Library last year I knew what I was expecting, an extremely small box room full of calligraphy (a form of typography) with different themes of calligraphy throughout. This exhibition is always fairly interesting as the artwork is always updated, however always shows the history of typography.

The most iconic piece artwork in St Bride’s Library was the Kelmscott Chaucer, which is a book designed all through typography by William Morris in the late 1800s. This book was extremely inspirational as someone had hand drawn everything with such precise detail, very impressive. I have shown a few images of this exhibition below.

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The House of Mina Lima

The House of Mina Lima was very unique as it was solely based on Harry Potter which made the exhibition much more interesting for me as it is a topic I am familiar with, some exhibitions I can find dull when I don’t understand the story behind them. There were loads of newspaper headlines that were on the walls throughout the house with very similar yet different typographic styles. Some of the paragraphs of type I found difficult to read which was annoying for me as a reader, not sure if this was intentional as I guess it is supposed to be ‘magical’, however this in my opinion a poor design as it wasn’t clear.

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Despite saying that the typography was un-readable, the parts that were very well executed and I liked the style of which they used as it had great synergy to the films and books of Harry Potter. I felt that using typography (which can be a dull topic) and linking it Harry Potter (a topic whereby the majority of the UK population is familiar with) was an extremely clever idea and will be very successful as it makes the studying/ deconstruction of the design more fun.

In conclusion I feel as though The House of Mina Lima was very intriguing in terms of Harry Potter, the layout of the house and synergy with the films and books, however in terms of typography I believe it could’ve been designed better as the majority of it was very difficult to read and for me, Wolpe’s exhibition was much more impressive in terms of artwork. Below are some images I took from Mina Lima.

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The keyword from this trip is MONOLINEAR, which means “Having vertical and horizontal strokes of the same visual weight.” This was present throughout all of the exhibition as typography is all about precision and accuracy. This is also a new word I can now add to my vocabulary.

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