What are the origins of the exuberant swash letters that can be found on the windows of many of Amsterdam’s most traditional bars? Who painted them? Was it a collective creation, or the work of a lone gifted sign painter? How old is this style?
For almost a decade Ramiro Espinoza thoroughly researched the refined, swirling lettering style, examining every surviving example in Amsterdam, Maastricht and Ghent in an effort to answer these questions. He compiled his findings in De Amsterdamse Krulletter – The Curly Letter of Amsterdam, a comprehensive, lushly illustrated and beautifully produced (bilingual English–Dutch) book. With its publication Ramiro hopes to raise awareness for this little-known chapter of the Dutch graphical tradition, bringing it into the present and making the lettering style relevant again.
The text is by Ramiro Espinoza, with an introduction by Jan Middendorp. Photographer Rob Becker documented all the known existing windows in the three cities in beautiful black and white, in order to capture the ambience and context in which the curly script flourished. More than merely a visual essay on the Krulletter, Rob’s photos also constitute a true artistic homage to the Amsterdam ‘brown’ cafés.
Kerning fonts is a tiring activity that can put a big stress on your extremities. Following the advice given at Robothon conference by Andy Clymer, we are experimenting using MetricsMachine and an USB’s game pad with the help of the universal driver USB Overdrive. It works like a charm. We specially like to have a handy way to flip the selected pair when checking kerning symmetry. The next kerning work at Retype is much probably going to be performed with this method.
“De Amsterdamse Krulletter“, an exhaustive research about the Amsterdam’s Curly Letter by Ramiro Espinoza and Rob Becker will be published by Lecuris.nl in April/2015. Stay tuned for news about the book presentation. Click here for more information.
“De Amsterdamse Krulletter” can be purchased following this link
We have been experimenting with our friends of BunkerType with a wood type version of Kurversbrug, the revival of Amsterdam’s bridge letters. We chose a fragment of a famous poem by Jan Campert (“Een Amsterdamsch lied”) and with it a poster in the spirit of The Amsterdam School avant-garde was designed and printed. Stay tuned, the poster will be made available soon.
Our typeface Laski Slab has been generously featured in the Japanese magazine Typography #6. It’s a well designed publication with a careful selection of recently published typefaces and related news on typography. Thanks a lot to Yuko Miyago and his team.
With our colleagues from Bunker Type we are planning a wood type version of Kurversbrug. Soon this new incarnation of the Amsterdam’s bridge letters (brugletter) will be ready and a set of posters dedicated to the city will be printed with them. Stay tuned for more news!
Few months ago we shared here some outstanding posters Richard Wolfströme designed with our Kade typeface. Now he has employed Laski Slab to design Here and Now, a magazine for The Academy of Urbanism. We think it is a beautiful piece of editorial design and we are glad our type family is playing an important rol in it. As always, thanks Richard for sharing your work with us.