Barcelona Cultura

Two typefaces with lots of history

Garamond, created in 1540; Arial and its more than 20 variants; or Helvetica, one of the most widely loved and used. The world of typography is full of history and curiosity, and we at the Museu del Disseny have many such examples: here are two very particular ones.

The Fontserè typeface

2016 saw the centenary of the birth of Carles Fontserè, painter, photographer, stage designer and writer. During the Civil War, when he was only 20 years old, he joined the Union of Draughtsmen where he created his first poster and organised the Collective Propaganda Workshop. Inspired by his posters, Jep Vilaplana from the Iglésies Associats studio created the "Fontserè typeface", a font charged with symbolism and strength.

The Áncora y Delfín bookshop

This typographical heritage has been at the forefront in the world of commerce in Catalonia, and is something we at the Museu del Disseny seek to preserve. At the beginning of 2012, after 50 years, one of the bookshops that had been most committed to the anti-Francoist fight in Barcelona, the Áncora y Delfín bookshop, finally closed. We at the museum thought it appropriate to preserve the signage that welcomed the customers to the shop. Specifically it was the typography, also applied to all the elements of corporate stationery, which made it unique. It was designed in the 1950s by Erwin Bechtold, then an interior designer and, subsequently, a designer at Editorial Destino publishers.

You can find these and other typefaces represented in the exhibition “Graphic design: from trade to profession (1940-1980)”, the graphic design collection and the selection of typographical publications presented by our Documentation Centre.

Ajuntament de Barcelona