Typographic knee-jerk reactions, 1/2: Using blackletter to evoke Third Reich connotations.
The top story in the current issue of konkret is about the “German hysteric reaction” to the NSA spying affair. The teaser “Achtung! Feind hört mit!” (“Attention! The enemy is listening!”) is set in FF Brokenscript (1991). Of course, Just van Rossum’s contemporary exploration of Fraktur letterforms has nothing to do with the Second World War propaganda nor the German schaftstiefelgrotesks of the mid 1930s. It is a “slightly ironic view of blackletter” (Jan Middendorp in Dutch Type) and “feels very contemporary and cool, rather than medieval and morbid” (FontFont). Reverting to a random blackletter for any allusion to Nazism is historically illiterate. It’s a lame cliché that should be avoided.