TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Fri Apr 20 18:39:41 EDT 2018






Karl Gerstner

Born in Basel in 1930, died in Basel, January 1, 2017. Karl Gerstner designed these typefaces:

  • Gerstner Programm (1963-1967). See also Opti Gurney Med Expanded by Softmaker. Fontsinuse writes that it is an attempt to work Akzidenz-Grotesk into a Univers-like system of harmonized weights and widths, initiated by Karl Gerstner at GGK (Gerstner, Gredinger und Kutter) Basel, drawn by Christian Mengelt, and produced by Berthold for the Diatype. Released from 1964 on. [Gerstner on Swiss Type Design] G.G. Lange claims that it was not available commercially. [Homola quoting from an interview in Typographische Monatsblätter 2/2003] In his monography though, Gerstner mentions that the typeface was launched by Berthold, and it is shown in the E1 Fototypes catalog. After the demise of the Diatype, it was still carried by VGC. In Programme entwerfen Gerstner says it was successfully issued by Aaron Burns in the US. In 2017, Lineto published a revival by Stephan Müller also called Gerstner Programm. It also published a translation of a 1963 article on Gerstner Programm by Karl Gerstner that appeared in Der Druckspiegel.
  • KG Privata. Renamed KG Vera.
  • Gerstner Original (1987, Berthold). Sold as Gerstner BQ. See Gerling on the SoftMaker MegaFont XXL CD, 2002. Berthold markets his extensive sans family Gerstner Next (2007, with Dieter Hofrichter), which is based on and almost identical to Gerstner Original BQ (1987).
  • The Akzidenz-Grotesk family (1962, Berthold) and Akzidenz-Grotesk Buch. See Atkins on the SoftMaker MegaFont XXL CD, 2002.
  • In the 1980s, he designed a didone for IBM's identity. That typeface is now available from URW++ under the name IBM Bodoni.

Gerstner is best known for his eccentricity in design, and his use of equally eccentric type (often Grotesk) to accompany his designs. The designer as programmer Karl Gerstner Review of 5x10 Years of Graphic Design is a book on Gerstner's influence as a designer, edited by Manfred Kröplien Hatje Cantz. He was trained under Armin Hofmann and Emil Ruder at the School of Design in Basel. He co-founded GGK (Gerstner Gredinger und Kutter), a leading Swiss advertising agency in 1963. GGK has been responsible for a number of promotional campaigns and corporate identities.

His books include Integral Typography (1959), The New Graphic Art (1959), Designing Programs (1963), and Compendium for Literates (1970). In 1972, an entire issue of Typografische Monatsblatter was devoted to Gerstner. Also in 1972, he wrote Kompendium für Alphabeten (last edition: 2000, Verlag Niggli AG).

Klingspor link. Short video on Gerstner by Melanie Hofmann. Obituary at Swissinfo. Gerstner's work is now available in the Helvetica Archives thanks to his own donation (in 2006) and that of his daughter (after his death).

Karl Gerstner
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Type designers ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Books on type design ⦿ Type design in Switzerland ⦿ Modern style [Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, Thorowgood, Computer Modern, etc.] ⦿ Akzidenz Grotesk ⦿

file name: U R W I B M Bodoni Medium

file name: Berthold Karl Gerstner Gerstner Original 1987

file name: Karl Gerstner Gerstner Original Gerstner B Q 1987

file name: Dieter Hofrichter Karl Gerstner Gerstner Next 2007

file name: Dieter Hofrichter Karl Gerstner Gerstner Next 2007a

file name: Berthold Karl Gerstner Gerstner B Q 1987

file name: Berthold Karl Gerstner Gerstner Original 1987b

file name: Stephan Mueller Gerstner Programm 2008 2017

file name: Karl Gerstner Geigy Poster

file name: Karl Gerstner National Zeitung Lokal National International Poster 1960

file name: Karl Gerstner Pic

file name: Karl Gerstner Pic

file name: Karl Gerstner Swissair Identity 1978

Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html