04. Typographers for Designers: Jan Tschichold

Jan Tschichold once claimed to be one of the most powerful influences on 20th century typography and his career was evidence of this. He created numerous font families including the well-known Sabon, worked with numerous foundries (such as Adobe), had a career that spanned nearly 55 years, and authored The New Typography (among other books), which after  87 years is STILL in publication.

Tschichold developed a taste for lettering as an assistant to his father, a sign writer. He started teaching illustration at only the age of 14 which led eventually to his own pursuit of education in any and all creative areas of study such as: engraving, bookbinding, wood cutting, and especially in calligraphy and script. Influenced by Bauhaus, Tschichold began to develop sans-serif fonts which quickly brought him under the scrutiny of the Nazi’s because they believed his typography to be un-German. Although his home was raided and he was briefly imprisoned, he was able to relocate to Switzerland. Eventually he drew away from the sans-serifs and returned to a classical style (which he had favored before the Bauhaus) with his type and design. Throughout his life, he taught at numerous schools, freelanced as a commercial graphic designer, worked for many publishers (including a position as art director at Penguin Books), and worked as a design consultant. All in all, sounds like a pretty busy and yet very successful life.

sabon 2








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