About this font family
Jugendstil Initials were designed by Heinrich Vogeler around 1905, based on the German blackletter tradition. A similar set of initials by Vogeler, but based on roman letters was released by Rudhardsche Geisserei of Offenbach at about this time. I believe the originals were woodcuts. The backgrounds to the letterforms may be seen as examples of Heimatkunst, an art movement within Germany that drew deliberate inspiration from the rural countryside. Like the Arts and Crafts Movement in England a little earlier, Heimatkunst may be seen, in part, as a romantic rejection of urban industrialization, while at the same time representing a back-to-roots nationalism. Like any river, it was fed by many streams. More…
Jugendstil Initials is an experiment with which I am most pleased. It is far and away the most complex font HiH has produced and I was uncertain whether or not it could be done successfully. To oversimplify, a font is produced by creating outlines of each character, using points along the outline to define the contour. A simple sans-serif letter A with crossbar can be created using as few as 10 points. We decided to make a comparison of the number of points we used to define the uppercase A in various fonts. Cori, Gaiety Girl and Page No 508 all use 12 points. Patent Reclame uses 39 and Publicity Headline uses 43. All the rest of the A’s, except the decorative initials, fall somewhere in between. The initial letters run from 48 points for Schnorr Initials to 255 for Morris Initials Two, with 150 being about average. Then there is a jump to 418 points for Morris Initials One and, finally, to 1626 points for Jugendstil Initials. And this was only after we selectively simplified the designs so our font creation software (Fontographer) could render them. The average was 1678, not including X and Y. There was no X and Y in the original design and we have provided simple stand-ins to fill out the alphabet, without trying to imitate the style of the orginal design.
We did a lot of looking to find a compatible lower case. We decided that Morris Gothic from the same period was the best match in color, design and historical context. We felt so strongly about the choice that we decided to produce our Morris Gothic font for the purpose of providing a lower case for Jugendstil Initials. The long s, as well as the ligatures ch and ck are provided. at 181, 123 (leftbrace) and 125 (rightbrace) respectively. This font was a lot of work, but I think it was worth it. I hope you agree.