Blackletter without Blackletter: A Neuland Workshop

“Denn eine jegliche kunst oder werk…” quotation set in Neuland. Design by Rudolf Koch.

Blackletter without Blackletter: A Neuland Workshop by Paul Shaw and Grendl Löfkvist will take place at the San Francisco Center for the Book on Sunday August 14 from 19 am to 5 pm.

German calligrapher and type designer Rudolf Koch (1876–1934) created Neuland, a unique typeface, by carving the characters directly into metal. This funky, chunky capitals-only face was based on the letterforms he had written out for manuscripts, carved into wood, and designed for weaving into tapestries. Neuland was transmuted back into a calligraphic hand in the 1960s and quickly became a staple alphabet among calligraphers. Graphic designers, woodblock artists, and lettercutters have also discovered the emotional power and versatility of Koch’s letterforms, whether as type or as models to adapt for carving.

Blackletter fanatics Paul Shaw and Grendl Löfkvist will show you how to make these powerful capital letters with a calligraphic, broad-edged tool in the first half of the class. Then you will carve your letters into a medium for letterpress printing, and come away with a stunning poster printed on the Center’s Vandercook proof presses.

You’ll finish this workshop with the tools and skills to continue your calligraphic practice at home, and you’ll take away multiple prints of an original letterpress poster printed in your personal version of Neuland calligraphy! Craftspeople of all skill levels will enjoy this one-day workshop dedicated to the calligraphy and printing of Rudolf Koch’s imposing yet malleable Neuland alphabet.

For pricing and registration click on the link above. Enrollment is limited to 8 people maximum.

Grendl Löfkvist is the Education Director at Letterform Archive and teaches calligraphy and printing workshops at SFCB. She also teaches type history and theory in the year-long postgraduate Type West program in type design, and the history of graphic design at City College of San Francisco.

Paul Shaw is a calligrapher/typographer/graphic designer/design historian. He is the author of Blackletter Primer and co-author of Blackletter: Type and National Identity. He has been fascinated by Rudolf Koch’s typefaces and calligraphy since the mid-1960s.

Paul and Grendl taught this workshop in 2019 as part of the Hamilton Wayzgoose at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. The workshop was a smash hit. Here are some photographs from it:

Hamilton Wayzgoose 2019 students writing out texts in Neuland style with a broad pen.

Neuland-style calligraphic design refined.

Cutting the refined design out of vinyl.

Inking the design with a hand brayer.

Printing the design.

A proud workshop student showing off his printed Neuland-style design.