Broken up into seven chapters, the exhibition at the James-Simon-Galerie will offer insights into the archaeology of the communities who populated the area east of the Rhine and north of the Danube between the 1st and 4th century CE, for whom Caesar coined the term Germani to refer to various linguistic and ethnic groups living in this region.
The visual identity and communication for the exhibition were designed by Polyform and Studio Edgar Kandratian. The title Germanen (“Germanic tribes”) is broken up into three lines, maybe to playfully emphasize the etymological link to the modern term German. It’s shown in all lowercase letters, in white against a photographic image of what appears to be fur.
The font in use is Neue Machina Ultrabold. Released in 2019 by Pangram Pangram, Neue Machina is a concentrate of several of the most loved/hated trends and gimmicks in recent typeface design, like (almost) non-joining joins (MN1 2), single flamboyant glyphs (g), an underbite e, and, of course, ink traps as a stylistic device. In an article for Typographica, Ksenya Samarskaya noted a resurgence of ink traps in 2018:
As a fan of error, serendipity, and misuse, I’ve always enjoyed the winks of oversized ink-trapped type. Though these days, the form falls more and more into pastiche. All these brute cutouts, these abrupt inorganic forms, who’ll likely never manage to trap any ink, mocking their earlier workhorse cousins.
In 2020, these mannered XXL ink traps have finally arrived on the big stage of Berlin’s billboards. In this case, I find them a surprising solution to the challenge of how to typographically express the foreignness of a culture from the dim and distant past, without reverting to faux-Runic letterforms.