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Typography Masters:

Leipziger Lives Again

Tim Ahrens presents Lapture

Shortly after the launch of our September issue, we were contacted by Tim Ahrens of "Just Another Foundry" in Oxford, UK. Tim invited us to take a look at his digital revival of Albert Kapr's "Leipziger Antiqua", which was published in East Germany in 1971. We took a look and knew this font needed to be part of this year's festival.

Ahrens writes:
      "I was instantly fascinated by such an excellent font and was astonished to find out it had not been made available in digital format. The typographic culture of East Germany appears to be unfairly neglected at present, and this typeface would almost have been forgotten after the 1990 changes in Germany.
      I believe that discovering it will be interesting for everyone with an interest in design."
We agree 100%.

elegant typography

Ahrens continues...
      "Kapr was an expert on this type of letters and his books are still among the best I have read. Not surprisingly, in his Leipziger Antiqua Kapr combined the principles of broken scripts and latin letterforms. In my eyes this makes it so unique although it does not appear as too unconventional or arty. I decided to contact Kapr's widow and seek permission to digitize the Leipziger Antiqua.

The biggest challenge were the characteristics of the capital letters, that were "too latin" compared to that of the small letters with their heavy horizontal strokes. They even remided me of historical bibles that use latin capital letters amidst broken letters in order to mark "evil" words. The capitals did not seem to be part of the text."

While the regular weight remained almost untouched the semibold weight required several modifications. Some letters obviously did not match the typeface's formal principles and did not correspond with the lighter weights.

Albert Kapr writes about Leipziger:
      "The size of the counters and the width of individual characters at small optical sizes were analyzed with a steel pen while the letter shapes were designed in larger size with a specially trimmed reed pen. Sometimes the hand is more innovative than the head alone,"

lapture original sample

Kapr continues...
      "The basic concept is to string together narrow white hexagons as counters and inter-letter spaces, defined by vertical stems and triangular serifs. The interior spaces are at least as important as the strokes that make up the characters."


Lapture weightsWhen the Leipziger Antiqua was digitized several scans of different optical sizes were used. Hot metal as well as photocomposition samples were used as a model for Lapture. (Open this Sample comparing scan to vectored type)

For the regular text size every letter was digitized independently three times from the same text and later interpolated on the computer. (This Sample shows greater detail of miniscules.)

Developing OpenType

Ahrens has created Lapture in OpenType format. Each font contains more than 600 glyphs, including true small caps, nine sorts of figures, contextual and stylistic alternates and accented characters. This diagram illustrates the true professional capability of this font. This means that you only need to purchase one font whereas in other families you would have to buy two or three fonts in order to get the same. Technically, they follow the Adobe Pro fonts and provide the same glyph set and OpenType functionality. (Italics of the Display weight becomes quill calligraphy)

Lapture Speaks

The magic of this type is in the weights available and the way it sets. There is sufficient variety in this family to produce major publications using this font alone. Heavy display and titling weights are legible down to the 10 to 14 point ranges, while powerful enough to carry headines. The light weights read like calligraphy in body texts yet are stunning in settings above 72 points. This is truly one of the most versatile new text faces we've seen in some time.

Tim Ahrens

Tim AhrensTim Ahrens was born in Heidelberg in 1976. He studied architecture at the University of Karlsruhe and now lives in Oxford, where he works as a type designer and architect. In 2000 Linotype published his sans serif text face Aroma. In 2005 he established Just Another Foundry, which distributes his display face Mashine and Lapture, a revival and redesign of Albert Kapr's Leipziger Antiqua.

To acquire Lapture, visit Just Another Foundry at justanotherfoundry.com -- purchase Lapture via PayPal at the site as well. You can also download Tim's PDF "Introducing Lapture" which describes the font in detail, and provides character specimen sheets of the various characters and weights.

Until next time...
      Thanks for reading
fred showker

If you have a favorite foundry or type designer you think DTG readers would enjoy, please let us know!

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