|© Tfl, London Transport Museum collection|
You can see it at the fascinating exhibition, Designs on Britain, at the Jewish Museum in Camden Town in London. It's on till 15th April so you have time. It shows the enormous influence that Jewish emigrés had on the look of the world that Brits live in. But it wasn't just street furniture or the look of books. There were public information posters, the Festival of Britain in 1951 and designs like the Chopper bike and marble run by Tom Karen.
One of the first exhibits you see is especially striking:
|University of Brighton Design Archives, the Henrion Estate|
|© Royal Mail Group, the Postal Museum|
When I started The Greystones Press with my husband in 2016, we knew that we wanted our books to have that Wolpe look and that we wanted the Albertus typeface on our book jackets. Here's one we published in 2017:
And here's the font itself, whose blocks are on display at the exhibition:
There is a fascinating video here about Wolpe's typefaces being made available digitally. Albertus was one of many and you'll recognise several of them straightaway.
Other designers in the exhibition include Elizabeth Friedlander (one of only three women represented), whose work is currently on display in the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft in East Sussex. Friedlander also designed a typeface early on in her career, known as Elizabeth, since a Jewish surname would have been unpopular with Adolf Hitler.
Then there is Misha Black, Hans Unger and George Him. Most of the seventeen designers featured in the exhibition moved to Britain in the 30s and 40s but Black came here as a toddler in 1912 and in WW2 became principal Exhibitions designer for the Ministry of Information.
All the designers here are Jewish immigrants to the UK but some more strictly refugees, fleeing Nazi persecution. They were widely commissioned by London Transport, The Post Office, the Society for the Preventions of Accidents, various Government ministries and big corporations like Shell. It is impossible to imagine what public life would have looked like in the 20th century and even into the 21st without them.