Book printed in East Germany in 1960's

I keep seeing this one in old East German books and cannot find any information on it. Similar fonts used in East Germany include "Fundamental Grotesk", "Super Grotesk", and of course "Futura" but this one is not like any of those. If a digital version can't be found - which is likely - I'd like to at least know its name. Any ideas?

Lastly, if you don't know, how would you suggest researching an old type like this? Traveling to the printing shop, hoping to get some information? Finding experts on old type (does that even exist)? What is a good way to track down a forgotten type?


Gill Sans Schoolbook

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24 May 2014 — 12:53pm
Sans Serif

It looks very much like Monotype Gill Sans Infant Standard

the lower case a and e are strong indicators, but other letters are not right like the t or M.

One that's perhaps even closer is Nick Curtis/Nick's Fonts/Examiner NF Regular

(except for the width of the /a and the /t foot)

It is indeed Gill Sans Infant, also known as Schoolbook, found the alternate "t" and "M" and a few other glyphs in an old specimen book from the UK. Will post a photo when I can take one later today. Nick's Examiner is close but the "t" is not a square as the one in Gill Sans Schoolbook.

Here are two images from a specimen book published by William Clowes and Sons LTD, London,1954

They show two parts of the alternative character page.

Thanks a lot for your help! Series 262 comes very close (the "b" and "d" are minimally different). Does the book list all letters of 262? (The "w"/"W" is definitely different in series 362.)

These are the alternative letters for the font - the rest would be as standard in Gill Sans Infant (Schoolbook). The idea of alternative letters was that the type setter could make a choice - some digital fonts have alternative sets - as far as I know these for Gill Sans never made it to digital versions.

What differences you may see in the b and d alternatives are possiblly from printing pressure etc. The W alternative was not used in your sample - the regular Gill Sans Infant W was.

I see. Thanks for clarifying.

Actually, after some googling, I came across this thread:

It shows another German example in use, along with some commentary:

Nick, I am sure you know that what you show here is the custom version of Gill Sans created for the continental/international market. It is an imitation of Futura commented on by Walter Tracy in his Letters of Credit (p. 95). Its alternates — AJMNQRWW and abdgpqstuw (roman), and JMQ and aaefgptu (italic) — are set in a separate line in the ‘Monotype’ Book of Information. The figures look especially unauthentic...

I don't have these books (unfortunately - I guess "Letters of Credit" I should have) so I don't have more information than this.

Very interesting find about the European version of Gill Sans - here is page 95 reference to Gill Sans in Letters of Credit by Walter Tracy

Confirmed, there is such an illustration in ‘Letters of Credit’. Gill Sans Continental is also mentioned and shown in ‘Buchdruckschriften im 20. Jahrhundert’ by Philipp Bertheau and others, Technische Hochschule Darmstadt 1995. Funny enough, the ‘a’ of Gill Continental as shown in ‘Buchdruckschriften’ looks like the infant character (with a tail right below), whereas the sample in ‘Letters of Credit’ shows a sample of Gill Continental with a clean ‘Futura a’. Monotype users could exchange matrices (within the same unit range), so it may very well be that not all typesetters replaced all matrices and/or mixed up infant and ‘Futura-like’ variations.

Bojev, you were faster than me! Thanks for posting!

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