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Fraktur Mon Amour [Imitation Leather]

Judith Schalansky
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2008
When was the last time a book on typography made you swoon? Just wait until you feast your eyes on Fraktur MonAmour , Berlin-based graphic designer Judith Schalansky's love letter to Blackletter fonts. Blackletter, also known asFraktur or Gothic type, was commonly used throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. By the end of the Renaissance it had mostly been replaced by the typeface Latin Antiqua. The use of Blackletter type became taboo in Germany after World War II because it was incorrectly associated with the Nazis, who actually banned its use in 1941 because it was falsely believed to be a Jewish invention. Revelations about the true history and meaning of Blackletter type have resultedin a resurgence in usage by graphic designers. Companies such as Nike, Reebok, and Coca-Cola now use Fraktur intheir advertising. It decorates posters, album covers, and even skin in the form of tattoos. But a comprehensive collectionof the most beautiful classic faces, as well as the best new variations, has been missing until now.

Fraktur Mon Amour reproduces 300 variations of Blackletter fonts, ranging from historical fonts to contemporary reinventions, in a sensuous, beautifully crafted, hot-pink prayer book-style catalog that is destined to become a fetish object for designers and type enthusiasts. Each Blackletter font is presented on a full page along with its complete alphabet, date of origin, the name of its designer, and its original foundry. On the facing page is a composition created fromthat font that explores the subversive beauty of this unique typeface. In addition, 137 of these fonts-including fourcreated exclusively for this book-are collected on an enclosed CD (Mac and PC) for free private and restricted commercial use. Fraktur Mon Amour is the winner of several awards, including the Type Directors Club of New York's 2007 Award for Typographic Excellence.

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About the Author

Judith Schalansky is a graphic designer based in Berlin.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Black letter, black letter and black letter Sept. 6 2010
Format:Imitation Leather
If you are an artist and want inspiration from the old black letter that are always hard to find, this book is just full of what you want.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amour fatal = You'll become addicted Oct. 11 2008
By Wm. Boletta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Imitation Leather
If you like typefaces, typography, books, printing, or even if you just like beautiful and interesting design, cough up the rather pricey asking-price and buy this book immediately. You will love it. At first glance, it looks like a missal or prayerbook. Unlike missals, however, the page edges are done in PINK rather that red, and that little fillip more or less sums up what this book is about: why serious and foreboding typefaces have become the badge of gangs, rappers, and super-hip types everywhere. And why blackletter is now commonplace in packaging, storefront awnings, and endless other sites.

In addition to the thorough presentation of some 300 typefaces with dates, designers, and origins, you will find a facing-page design using the typeface. Many quite well done and some even exciting. Of course, I'm not the first to find the book spectacular. It won the Type Directors Club of New York's 2007 Award for Typographic Excellence. It should also get some kind of prize for campiest title for a typography book ever.

The book was originally printed in Germany, and at the bottom of each typeface sample page, there is a German text (translated in the introduction). It is quite a ridiculous text, something about a diplomat eating a pie, but in fact many pages have variations on the text, some of which are even more hilarious. Of course, you'll have to be able to read German to appreciate these, so you might want to consult Amazon's selection of German instruction books.

In short, this book is a classic "sleeper." When I ordered it I was expecting a rather straightforward, perhaps dry book about blackletter typefaces. What I got was a thoroughly delightful and entertaining romp through type and design. Yet a book that was also full of information and even scholarly in its details. Not to mention a CD-ROM with 100+ blackletters.

Just be careful, you may find it addictive. I did.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful collection Oct. 2 2008
By David Lemon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Imitation Leather
I read a review of this book months ago in Eye magazine, and waited impatiently for the new edition to come out. The wait was worth it. Judith Schalansky's love of blackletter is clear on every page. Each spread shows one blackletter font - the character set and a pangram on the right side, and a graphical arrangement on the left. The new edition contains 333 such spreads, which is an astounding collection. (Who knew there were so many blackletter fonts?) Anyone interested in typography or calligraphy will find this book a delight to page through.

I have only two complaints. First is the paper. It is less opaque than I'd wish, so there's substantial show-through from page to page. (This is hard to avoid; in a book with 720 pages, the paper must be fairly thin.) Additionally, there is a disappointingly high number of flecks in the paper, which can be rather distracting when looking at the type. Second, many of the graphical compositions fail to give much sense of the specific font's "feel", and some are little more than wasted space. However, there are also some which are both intriguing and informative.

I'm glad I got a copy, and thank Ms Schalansky for her dedicated work!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caligraphy Bank Feb. 21 2010
By Daniel E. Layne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Imitation Leather
I bought this book from Prairie Lights in Iowa City for $60 and it is worth it! I practice calligraphy every day and was looking for a new set of exercises as most of the books of such tutorials are rather shallow. Months later, not yet have I delved the depth of this tome! Inspiration bon appetit!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a screamingly cool book! May 17 2011
By James Sanderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Imitation Leather|Verified Purchase
Interesting essays, a wonderful selection of typefaces, almost half of which are on the enclosed CD, and two sewn in bookmarks in the signature colors - what's not to love? This is a really fun resource for graphic design artists as well as calligraphers. In addition to some fairly out-there fonts, there are a number of truly classic one, including the typefaces used by J Gutenberg and Wm Morris. Many thanks to all concerned!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars with a CD-ROM May 11 2011
By C. Freeborn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Imitation Leather|Verified Purchase
There is a lot of history involved with Gothic black fonts. The decription of the book does not mention that it comes with a CD-ROM of 150 fonts. A nice surprise!
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