Folkwang was a typeface designed by Hermann Schardt while he was director of the Folkwang Werkkunstschule (School of Arts and Crafts) in Essen, Germany, ca. 1949. It was released in 1955 by the Klingspor foundry. This design is among many European postwar types that did not get much exposure in North America. This is in contrast to the 1920s, when many European types (notably Klingspor’s Neuland and Koch Antiqua) were imported for North American printers via Melbert Cary’s Continental Type Founders. Continental filled a niche by distributing European type milled down to North American type-height standards until the outbreak of the Second World War.

British book designer and printing historian John Dreyfus noted in the 1955 Penrose Annual that Folkwang

... is a lovingly made piece of work which could easily have been little more than an act of awe-struck reverence for the calligraphic techniques rediscovered by Edward Johnston and spread abroad in Germany by Anna Simons. Of special interest is the serif treatment of the lower-case letters: at the feet the terminals are mostly left bare, but the ascenders and the cross-strokes of the f and t ... create an effect unusual in a page of letters made as movable types, resembling rather more a piece of intaglio engraving.

Folkwang has been artfully revived in digital form for the first time by Canadian type designer Patrick Griffin. This new version, released via P22 Type Foundry, is part of a collaboration between Canada Type and P22. The design is an unusual roman type with a lowercase that resembles an upright italic. Asymmetric top serifs are contrasted by almost no foot serifs. This font allows for stunning all-caps titling or beautiful shorter passages of text. With a full complement of OpenType features, the new digital P22 Folkwang can handle a myriad of typographic situations.

You can download a modern interpretation of this font. Purchase Folkwang at P22 Type Foundry.

Folkwang Magnify

The Devil's Artisan would like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.