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Aurora Grotesk and Inserat Grotesk in film and metal | by Stewf
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Aurora Grotesk and Inserat Grotesk in film and metal

Top: Homage to the Alphabet, Phil’s Photo, 1980.

Bottom: A.T.A. Type Comparison Book, Frank Merriman, 1965.


Aurora Grotesk Condensed/Extra Condensed (C.E. Weber) and Inserat Grotesk (Haas) were two of the many condensed, high-waisted, large-x-height sans families released in Europe in the early 20th-century, and later in America. (Other names include Wotan Grotesk, Edel Grotesk, Lessing, and Reichs Grotesk.)


By mid-century, both families offered alternate forms of letters like ‘A’, ‘M’, ‘N’, ‘R’, ‘w’, ‘k’, ‘x’ with either straight or curved diagonal strokes. (The straight Aurora was known as Neue Aurora — thanks, Indra!) In the phototype sample above, all the other letters are identical between the two fonts. Phil’s could have only carried Aurora (with the alts), but I suppose they wanted to show they had both names in the catalog.


Digital versions include Aurora (Bitstream) and Wagner Grotesk (Canada Type), but neither of these have most of the straight diagonal forms.


There are three ‘R’ forms among these fonts: curved leg (shown above), straight vertical leg (in Wagner Grot), and straight diagonal leg (in Aurora).

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Uploaded on February 11, 2014