Great German type designer (b. Nürnberg, 1876; d. Frankfurt, 1934) who worked mainly at the Klingspor foundry. He founded the Offenbach Werkstatt in 1921.
Many of his typefaces can be classified as German expressionist. These include Kabel (a sans), and Neuland (an angular poster face). An early Nazi sympathizer and supporter, Koch's fonts were heavily used by the Nazi regime.
This page lists 158 royalty-free Christian symbols drawn by Rudolf Koch, a religious Lutheran, with the collaboration of Fritz Kredel (1900-1973) (see also here).
His typefaces, with notes on digitizations:
- Claudius (1931-1934, 1937, D. Stempel AG). His son Paul Koch followed Rudolf's instructions to make one weight in 1931-1934. Klingspor completed it in 1937. Delbanco (as DS-Claudius) and Klaus Burkhardt (1991) digitized it. Based on the latter, Manfred Klein made ClaudiusImperator (2001). Dieter Steffmann made Claudius, ClaudiusAlternate, and ClaudiusHeadline in 2003. Ralph M. Unger published Claudius in 2010.
- Deutsche Anzeigenschrift (1913-1914), Deutsche Anzeigenschrift schmal (1916-1923, D. Stempel AG). revivals include SchmaleAnzeigenschrift (2002) and SchmaleAnzeigenschriftZier (2002) by Dieter Steffmann, and Schmale Anzeigenfraktur (2009) by Ralph Unger. Later weights by Koch: Deutsche Anzeigenschrift eng (1923) , Deutsche Anzeigenschrift breit (1923, D. Stempel AG) , Deutsche Anzeigen. schmalhf. (1934, D. Stempel AG).
- Deutsche Schrift (1908-1921), consisting of Deutsche Schrift schmal (1913, Gebr. Klingspor), Deutsche Schrift fett (1910, Gebr. Klingspor), Deutsche Schrift mager (1918, Gebr. Klingspor) and Deutsche Schrift halbfett (1912, Gebr. Klingspor). Also known as Koch Fraktur. Revived by Gerhard Helzel as KochFrakturSchmaleHalbfette (2000), by Christian Richter as Rudolf Koch (2003), and by Delbanco as DS Koch Fraktur. It was a popular family, known in England as Oxford. For comparison, here is a phototype version. Deutsche Schrift fett, aka Fette Deutsche Schrift, was revived by Dieter Steffmann in 2002 (as Fette Deutsche Schrift) and by Alter Littera in 2012 as Deutsche Schrift.
- Deutsche Schrägschrift (1912, Gebr. Klingspor).
- Deutsche Werkschrift (1934, D. Stempel AG) and Deutsche Werkschrift hablfett (1934, D. Stempel AG): This is really the "mager" version of Deutsche Anzeigenschrift. Delbanco revived it digitally as DS Deutsche Werkschrift.
- Deutsche Zierschrift (1919-1921, Gebr. Klingspor). Revived as Dutesche Zierschrift (2002) and Zierinitialen> (2002) by Dieter Steffmann. See also Delbanco's DS Deutsche Zierschrift.
- Frühling (1913-1917, Gebr. Klingspor). A blackletter that seems to have been executed with a shaky hand---it is definitely one of Koch's weakest and ugliest designs. Incredibly, the revival gang was still eager to spring into action: it was revived and interpreted by Frantisek Storm in Monarchia. See also Delbanco's DS Frühling. For another revival, see Next Stringtime by Manfred Klein (2003). Frühling is sometimes called Kartenschrift.
- Geschriebene Initialen zur Grotesk (1930, Gebr. Klingspor).
- Grotesk Initialen (1933, Gebr. Klingspor). Paul Hayden Duensing made Koch Initials (metal).
- Holla (1932, Gebr. Klingspor). Digitized by Dieter Steffmann in 2001.
- Jessen Schrift (1924-1930) is a hybrid of gothic (blackletter) minuscules and roman capitals (including the characteristic Basque capital A) designed and cut without preliminary drawings in Offenbach am Main by Rudolf Koch for The Four Gospels, which was printed at the Klingspor press in 1926 and published by Koch himself. Formerly named Bibel-Gotisch, the type was developed between 1924 and 1929 as Peter Jessen Schrift and released as Jessen in several sizes by the Klingspor foundry in 1930. See DS-Jessen-Schrift (1998, Christian Spremberg), Peter Jessen Schrift (Delbanco), Jessica Plus (2002) and JessicaSerif (2003) by Manfred Klein, Peter Jessen Schrift Pro (Softmaker, 2016), and Jessen Schrift (2004, Ralph M. Unger). Jessen Mittel 14 and Jessen Cicero 12 were developed by Alexis Faudot and Rafael Ribas in 2016 during an ANRT workshop in Valence, France.
- Kabel (1927, Gebr. Klingspor), Klingspor's competing design for Paul Renner's Futura. The most famous digitization of this Koch Sans family is by Victor Caruso in ITC Kabel (1976), and with its exaggerated x-height, much larger than the original, it is a poor bastard. The modern Bitstream version is called Geometric 231. Softmaker calls it Koblenz. Poster by Jorge Martinez. At Linotype, Marc Schütz designed the large family Neue Kabel (2016) that revives Kabel by making it more consistent. This version overshadows all previous digital versions or extensions of Kabel. Dates of the various weights: Kabel Kursiv (1929, Gebr. Klingspor), Kabel groß (1928, Gebr. Klingspor), Kabel Kursiv groß (1930, Gebr. Klingspor), Norm Kabel (1930, Gebr. Klingspor): LinotypeLibrary, Kabel fett (1929, Gebr. Klingspor): LinotypeLibrary, Kabel schmal (1930, Gebr. Klingspor), Kabel schmalhalbfett (1929, Gebr. Klingspor).
- Koch Antiqua (or: Locarno) (1920-1922, Gebr. Klingspor). It was sold by Continental Type in the United States as Eve. This gorgeous tall-legged and flared typeface was designed in 1917, but cut in 1922. Koch Kursiv (1923, Gebr. Klingspor) is the Kursiv version of Koch Antiqua. See also Koch Kursiv groß (1929, Gebr. Klingspor) and Koch Antiqua fett (1926, Gebr. Klingspor: some give the date 1923-1924). Rivoli is a similar metal typeface. Digital versions include Rudolf Antiqua (2018, Now Type), Eva Antiqua, Eva SG (Spiece Graphics), Eva (Monotype), AIKochAntiqua (a multiple master font by Randall Jones for Alphabets Inc), Astaire Pro (2004, Bergslund Design, or Hackberry), Koch Altschrift (2004, Moorstation crew), Locarno (1985, Alan Meeks for Letraset), Kuenstler 165 (Bitstream), Koch Antiqua (Adobe, Linotype), Evadare (David Nalle), Hellen (2019, Genilson Lima Santos).
- Koch Kurrent (1933, Gebr. Klingspor). This is Koch's version of school scripts, a variant of his earlier proposal, Offenbacher Schrift (1927). It was only cut in 1935. See Rudolf Koch Kurrent at Delbanco .
- Koch Schrift (1909) is a Schwabacher first known as Neudeutsch and later as Koch Schrift. It was used by the Deutsche Reichsbahn, ca. 1930. For a digital revival, see, e.g., Koch Schrift (1998-2021) by Ingo Zimmermann.
- Marathon (1930-1938, Gebr. Klingspor). Digitized by Linotype in 2003 as Marathon LT (by Ute Harder, aka Frau Jenson), and by Softmaker a bit earlier. The best digital version is by the Koch Memorial team of Petra Heidorn under the name Romantha (a permutation of the letters) in 2003 (it preserves the original x-height better, for example).
- Maximilian Antiqua (1913-1917, Gebr. Klingspor). Digitization by Manfred Klein, who made Maximilian Antiqua (2003) and MaximilianAntiquaSmallCaps (2003). For an initial caps extension, see Typograf's Maximilian Antiqua Initialen (2015).
- Maximilian (Gotisch) (1914-1917, Gebr. Klingspor). Walden Font has a revival. See also Maximilian at Delbanco. Castletype made MaximilianCS. In 1995, Doug Olena revived it as Maximilian. Dieter Steffmann made Maximilian (2002) and Maximilian Zier (2002). Maximilian (2012) is due to Alter Littera. Drawings for Maximilian-Gotisch. Gerhard Helzel's revival from 1995. Stephen Miggas's revival is called Gothicus (2006).
- Neu Fraktur (1933-1934, Gebr. Klingspor): Koch's last Fraktur.
- Neuland (1923, Gebr. Klingspor) and Neuland licht (1928, Gebr. Klingspor), an outline version of Neuland. Neuland is all caps German expressionist typeface chiseled directly by Koch from metal. Copied by Monotype in 1929 as OthelloMT. Digitized by Linotype Library. Also digitized as Newland Black by Andrey Mel'man. In 1995, Doug Olena (Keystrokes) revived it as FFD Neuland (1995). A lower case and hair-serifed extension was created by Manfred Klein as On Kochs Roots (2002) and KochNeu-ExtraBlack (2003). Nick Curtis made Jungle Fever and Jungle Fever Shaded (2008) after Neuland. In 2010, Ian Lynam published yet another update, Neuerland. In 2013, Lazar Dimitrijevic created Cal Neuland Bold.
- Offenbach (1928-1934, Gebr. Klingspor). Made for display in church windows, Koch designed the "mager" weight (1931) and an uncial version. His student Hans Kühne finished the "halbfett" and the gothic after his death.
- Prisma (1928-1931, Gebr. Klingspor): A four-lined art deco face. Revived by Dieter Steffmann (2003-2004) as Prisma, and by Ralph Unger as Prisma Pro (2011). See also the 10-style typeface family LL Prismaset at Lineto (2003-2017, Mauro Paolozzi, James Goggin, Alex Rich, Arve Båtevik, and Raphael Koch).
- Stahl (1933-1939): Done with H. Kühne. Revived by J.F.Y.Daniel Gauthier (GautFonts) as StahlSteel (2003) and StahlSteelRiveted (2003).
- Wallau (1924-1932, Gebr. Klingspor), Wallau halbfett (1930, Gebr. Klingspor), Wallau fett (1935, Gebr. Klingspor), Wallau schmal (1934, Gebr. Klingspor). See Wallaby on the SoftMaker MegaFont XXL CD, 2002, or Wallau by Fraktur.de or DS Wallau by Delbanco, or Wallau (2012) by Alter Littera. Pictures by Dan Reynolds about Klingspor's Wallau speciman book (1939). Wallau, which comes in rotunda (Rundgotisch) and uncial, was named after Heinrich Wallau (1852-1925), a printer from Mainz. Originally, the typeface was going to be called Missale. Also revived by Dieter Steffmann (as WallauDeutsch-Bold (2002), Wallau Rundgotisch Heavy (2002), Wallau Rundgotisch OsF Heavy (2002), WallauUnzial-Bold (2002) and WallauZierBold (2002)) iand by PrimaFont.
- Wilhelm-Klingspor-Schrift. (1920-1926, Gebr. Klingspor): This was originally called Missal. To commemorate Wilhelm Klingspor, who died in 1925 from a war injury, it was renamed Wilhelm-Klingspor-Gotisch. Paul Hayden Duensing made a metal version under the latter name. Digitizations by Fraktur.de and Delbanco. See also Wilhelm-Klingspor-Schrift at LinotypeLibary, Wilhelm Klingspor Schrift (2012) by Alter Littera, Wilhelmschrift (2006) by Stephen Miggas, and Missal by Dieter Steffmann (2003). Matching decorative caps were made in 2004 by Paul Lloyd under the name Holzschnitt-Initialen.
- Zeppelin (1929, Gebr. Klingspor). This is a decorative (inline) version of Kabel. Revived as Zeppelin (2003, Dieter Steffmann) and Evadare (1993, David Nalle).
In 1984, Wolfgang Hendlmeier discussed the blackletter typefaces in Koch's oeuvre: A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Brief bio by Wolfgang Hindlmeier (1984).
Koch's involvement in handwriting education in Germany led to these Schreibschrift examples from 1930 (also called Deutsche Verkehrsschrift), and to the development by Martin Hermersdorf of the Deutsche Schreibschrift for fourth graders in Bavaria in 1950.
Wood engraving of Koch by Bernard Brussel-Smith.
Publications by Rudolf Koch:
- Die Schriftgießerei im Schattenbild, Offenbach 1918.
- Das Schreiben als Kunstfertigkeit, Leipzig 1921.
- Das ABC-Büchlein, Leipzig 1934.
- Das Schreibbüchlein, Kassel 1939.
- Klassiche Schriften.
- Das Zeichenbuch. This book contains 493 old-world symbols, monograms and runes and was reprinted in 1955 in the Dover Pictorial Archive Series as The Book of Signs.
- Das Blumenbuch.
- Gerald Cinamon: Rudolf Koch: Letterer, Type Designer, Teacher (2000, Oak Knoll Press and The British Library).
- Georg Haupt: Rudolf Koch der Schreiber, Leipzig 1936.
- Wilhelm H. Lange: Rudolf Koch, ein deutscher Schreibmeister, Berlin, Leipzig 1938.
- Oskar Beyer: Rudolf Koch. Mensch, Schriftgestalter und Erneuerer des Handwerks, Berlin 1949.
- Friedrich Friedl, Nicolaus Ott (Editor), Bernard Stein: Typography An Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Throughout History, Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH.
Rudolf Koch's carved lettering inspired spin-offs like PGF Americas (2021, Pedro Gonzalez).
FontShop link. Klingspor link. Biography by Nicholas Fabian. Bio at Linotype. Bio in German. The Koch Memorial page [now defunct] offered historical notes and many free revivals of his typefaces.
View digital typefaces based on Rudolf Koch's work.
Klingspor Museum page
Type designers ⦿
Type designers ⦿
Blackletter fonts ⦿
Religious symbols ⦿
Manfred Klein ⦿
German type scene ⦿
Nick Curtis ⦿
Art deco typefaces ⦿
School fonts ⦿
Rotunda / Rundgotisch ⦿
Uncial typefaces ⦿
Prismatic typefaces ⦿
Typefaces related to German expressionism ⦿
Bastarda / Bâtarde / Schwabacher ⦿
Chiseled fonts ⦿
Dieter Steffmann ⦿