65. Närrischer Armeebefehl
Carnival is a big thing (and serious business) in some parts of Germany, especially along the river Rhine. During carnival season (from 11 November until Ash Wednesday), book(let)s relating to the anniversaries of carnival associations – with a strong preference for repdigits such as ‘66’ or ‘111’ – are often published. This booklet (with 128 numbered pages) celebrates the 65th anniversary of the Füsilier-Garde, a carnivalistic organisation from a suburb of Mainz. The reason for their calling themselves a ‘Garde’ (literally: ‘guard’) and using terms like ‘Armeebefehl’ (‘army field order’) has to be sought in the tradition of mocking military customs and uniforms that became an important part of carnival in the 19th century.
The most interesting thing about the booklet is the choice of the typeface: The designer used Xenois Serif and Sans (2013), designed by Erik Faulhaber. Both are part of a superfamily that also includes styles called Soft (rounded low-contrast sans), Semi (high-contrast sans), Slab (true to its name) and Super (low-contrast sans with some isolated slab serifs in the lowercase). I hadn’t ever seen any of them in use, but I wondered if their availability through the Monotype Library Subscription played any role in this case.
The inside of the booklet is decent, but nothing to write home about. The serif style was used for headings and the sans for running text. It would probably go too far to see this as a reversal of the traditional roles of sans and serif typefaces in editorial typography and to associate it with the reversal of traditional roles in society during carnival.
The overview of carnival-related activities in the weeks leading up to Rose Monday (on which celebrations culminate in Mainz) and Shrove Tuesday makes use of tabular figures and thin spaces after each full stop. That’s quite traditional, but nice to see.