Ramblings, findings, opinion and the occasional fact.

neueSerie57: a new typeface, rediscovered from 1957

#20 A new, old typeface

Akzidenz Grotesk Serie 57, 28pt in a case at the Hacking Gutenberg workshop in Berlin

This new typeface
is neither a revival nor a reworking of an old type. It is a discovery – or rather a rediscovery. 

Of course I had seen Akzidenz Grotesk Serie 57 in the Berthold specimens and knew that the weights from 14 point onwards looked different from the smaller text weights, which had been made available for the Linotype. But I had never thought about the design process, even though 1957 was such an important year for typography: Helvetica, Univers! 

We do know that the first publication of a hot metal typeface rarely marks the beginning nor the end of a years-long process of development, but there must have been a reason why Günter Gerhard Lange chose exactly this year to name the face. 

The design of the text sizes for machine setting was not changed, only the widths were adapted for the Linotype system. They were available as early as 1957 and could be combined with the Akzidenz Grotesk weights for handsetting. But the spirit of the times wanted more of a system: the members of the AG family had never been coordinated, they had just come together over decades. Adrian Frutiger’s Univers, on the other hand, was designed as a system: tidy, comprehensive, modern, while Neue Haas Grotesk was not yet called Helvetica but had been planned to end the dominance of AG.

Akzidenz Grotesk Serie57
A spread from a Berthold specimen book

In 1959, AG 57 sizes from 14 to 48 point were released. GGL had caught the spirit of the times and tidied up, smoothed out and simplified the youngest child of the family. Unfortunately, it was never made into a complete family of faces. Until we discovered a mis-labelled case with AG 57 in 16 and 20 point

The neue Serie57® is not a revival, but a new digital typeface. It is dedicated to Günter Gerhard Lange, my teacher and role model. 

We printed a 64-page brochure describing the development process from the first digital version to the complete family which can be ordered from Alex Roth’s website here:

Our friend Stefan Nitzsche made a short video: