As a final project in my second typography class at ACAD, 2011, we were asked to create a book approximately 24 pages long discussing the history, designer, and usage of a chosen typeface. At the time, I had just discovered the typeface Akzidenz Grotesk and was obsessed with it. I wanted to use it for everything but realized this might get a little bit overwhelming so I wrote my book on it instead. In doing my research about the origins of the typeface, the most interesting thing to me was the conception of the name. The typeface was first introduced in an industrializing Germany and readers were used to serif fonts only. When they first saw this sans serif type, they thought it was a “grotesque accident”. It is fascinating to me that something that was so negatively received became so popular and helped support a major typographical movement, the Swiss Typographic Style.
I would do this project again if I had the chance. I learned to appreciate paying great attention to fine details in type, though it was painstaking at times, the end result is completely worth it. The book was an endlessly interesting project to see what one could do with the most subtle changes in type and knowing the history of a typeface will assist me in choosing the right jobs for it in the future.