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Subject: Fraktur Uber Alles Baby
From: Hrant H Papazian <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Feb 2001 09:15:57 -0800

text/plain (44 lines)

"Rolf F. Rehe" wrote:
> Dick Weltz has repeatedly pointed out that many Jewish
> people associate Blackletter/Frakrur with the Nazis
> and one can only respect that.

And it's not just Jews. On the flip side, another group of
people who associate blackletter with facism is neo-Nazis.

I totally agree that the negative connotation is unfortunate.
Why? Because not only does Fraktur have a unique aesthetic
that would be great to take advantage of, but also:

> its legibility, were it to be used for text, is low.

On the contrary, my friend! As I tried to show in Leipzig,
Fraktur is inherently *more* legible than our conventional
"whiteletter"! If somebody were to make a Fraktur of not
too dark color, and conventional caps, and then actually
use it to publish a work (see end), we might be surprised
at the results.

In terms of readability, there is admittedly the issue
of the contemporary lack of familiarity, but I've come to
the conclusion that familiarity is a quickly passing obstacle.

I'm convinced that it doesn't take long (maybe a couple
of hours) for an individual to get used to a given typeface,
but that's when its *inherent* degree of readability starts to
kick in. However, when you collect these adaptable individuals
into a group (ie society), other negative forces come into play,
and the overall is much less adaptable than the individuals:
it's much harder to get society used to Fraktur that it is
to get an individual used to it.

The problem is how to put the right public spin on a
Fraktur revival effort, to thwart the unfair negativity.
For example, perhaps the ideal place to attempt a Fraktur
revival would be an anti-Nazi novel or documentary, with
a colophon explaining that Fraktur was just another victim
of the regime, and it deserves to shed its scarlet letter.


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