Spring 2019

Return to the square

A chance discovery by some builders led to the adaptation and expansion of a 1930s alphabet by one of Switzerland’s foremost designers

Rektorat is a type family that Rudolf Barmettler and the Swiss type foundry Nouvelle Noire have made from an alphabet of square-ish, geometrical letters most likely designed by designer and teacher Ernst Keller (1891-1968) in the early 1930s. The letters were first used for the Modern Movement building in Ausstellungsstrasse, Zürich, that held both the Kunstgewerbe-schule (school of arts and crafts) and the Kunstgewerbemuseum – now known as the Museum für Gestaltung (MfG).


Exterior of the main building of the Museum für Gestaltung (MfG) in Ausstellungsstrasse, Zürich, with lettering by Rudolf Barmettler and Nouvelle Noire. Photo: Georg Aerni.
Top: Interior signs on glass in the main museum building. Photo: Patrick Fuchs.

1. 17-11-02_284_Aerni

John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 98 vol. 25, 2019


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues. You can see what Eye 98 looks like at Eye Before You Buy on Vimeo.

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