Sample Communications Paper on Jan Tschichold

Jan Tschichold


The Topographer

Jan Tschichold is a renowned German typographer who was born in the year 1902 at Leipzig centre. Franz, Tschichold’s father, practiced sign-writing in a bid to get a source of income. It is true to say that Franz profession as a sign-writer is what drove Tschichold to the world of lettering (Burke, 2007). Tschichold became more enlightened as he developed an avid interest in following his father’s footsteps. It is with this profound reason that he chose to learn and expertise in signwriting. Even though Tschichold had an innate passion to pursue art, his parents were not in support of his aspiration. Tschichold parents regarded any form of artistic profession as both unfulfilling and unfruitful. Instead, they advised their son, Tschichold, to pursue teaching which they regarded to have more returns as compared to artistic works. By the age of 14, Tschichold had already embarked on his career journey to becoming a renowned teacher. However, after 3 years of teaching, Tschichold called it quits so that he could start working on his artistic dream of being a calligrapher.

Tschichold became devoted to achieving his dreams as he developed a habit of reading a wide array of books that focused on calligraphy, writing and ornamental script (Baines & Haslam, 2007).  With his dedication and hardwork, Tschichold became more proficient and knowledgeable on matters dealing with calligraphy. Tschichold was also influenced by Rudolf Koch and Pierre Simon Fournier, who got more inspired to produce his own topography. Some of  remarkable typefaces that were developed by Tsichicjold include; Sabon, Transit, Zeus and Saskia (Baines & Haslam, 2007).  He was also popularly known for his excellent work in designing a standard book cover for the Penguine books. In the year 1925, Tschichold designed the first type of font named as Uhertype. Uhertype is described as font that displays an integration of manual phototypesetting and make-up machine (Burke, 2007).  In the same year, he wrote an article, Elementare Typographie, which was later on referred to as The New Typography. Aside from these, Tschichold also published one other textbook labeled as Die Neue Typography. He published these books in support of the ‘New Typography Movement’ (Baines & Haslam, 2007).

The history of the typeface

            Tschichold is well-known for his remarkable achievement in transforming the old topography to modern topography. This was purposefully done to enhance clarity with the typefaces. Unlike the old topography that was designed to display ‘beauty’, the modern topography has been designed to provide clarity to the readers who read printed academic resources such as books, journals, magazines and articles. Thus, resources that were written in modern topography promoted fast communication, emphasis and logical sequence of the contents (Burke, 2007).  Tschichold further emphasized on the functions of typography and designs as they are to be simple, communicative, compelling and functional (Baines & Haslam, 2007). In the year 1931, Tschichold designed the first typeface labeled as Transit. The second typeface that was designed by Tschichold was known as Zeus. Sakia was thereafter introduced in the year 1932 whereas Sabon typeface was introduced during the early 1967 (Burke, 2007). The New typefaces were developed to display the following aspects; clarity, primary colours, strong contrasts and clarity (Burke, 2007). Among all these typefaces, Sans serifs typeface was the only one that was mostly preferred as a medium of illustration (Baines & Haslam, 2007). Tschichold reiterated on the need for consistency in topography, during an era where different types of machine were being invented to replace manual labor. Tschichold in conjunction with other typography designers formed a group known as the Ring of New Advertising Designers with the main goal of supporting each other’s works.


Burke, C. (2007). Active literature: Jan Tschichold and new typography. Hyphen Press.

Baines, P., & Haslam, A. (2005). Type & typography. London: Laurence King.