Brian's History of Communication Design Blog

Weekly exposition on recent learnings.


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Vienna Secession Typeface Reborn in Psychedelia

We were reviewing the various movements that followed on after Art Nouveau (Jugendstil, the Glasgow School, and the Vienna Secession), and it was interesting to see how the typefaces of the Vienna Secession developed. At first they were similar in their clarity and elongated forms to those of the Glasgow School, but they soon developed more abstract, less legible, forms.

Of particular note was one by Alfred Roller, shown here in an example of a calendar page from Ver Sacrum.

Ver Sacrum August

Alfred Roller typeface in Ver Sacrum

When I saw this I immediately thought of the typeface used in late 1960s psychedelia posters, particularly those from San Francisco. I found two examples that used Roller’s typeface:

brignallimg2Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore

I think it’s great that it might have taken nearly 70 years for the renaissance to occur, but that a perfect one did happen for Roller’s very unique typeface.