Ashleigh Sun

Brücke Display

Bachelor of Design Craft Print Design Publication Typography
AD21 Award
Head of School Award
For outstanding academic performance in Communication Design

Brücke Display: A typeface design for German Expressionism

Brücke Display is a typeface that hearkens back to the woodcut prints of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner from the early 20th century art movement, German Expressionism. Taking direct influence from the woodcut manifesto of the collective, Die Brücke (The Bridge), this typeface translates the handcut letterforms into a digital functional typeface.

Brücke Display is presented in this type specimen book, with ten accompanying posters, that provide an opportunity to showcase its characteristics, alongside a selection of Kirchner’s prints.

German Expressionism was founded as a rejection of traditional academic art. Its underlying principles involved depicting subjective reality, as opposed to objective reality, to create emotionally expressive works with a sense of spontaneity and immediacy. Characterised by the crude and the jagged shapes of the woodcut, the artists embraced the medium to achieve simplified forms and radical flattening.

As such, the woodcut print of the Brücke’s manifesto was published in 1906 that spoke against the older bourgeoisie while serving as a ‘bridge’ between the present and the future. It was these unique, condensed letterforms that piqued my interest, serving as a catalyst to translate the manifesto into a working digital typeface that includes a range of alternate characters to complement the hand-made quality. These letterforms are accompanied as well by drop caps that reference the shapes and forms from Kirchner’s prints.

Throughout the project, analogue and digital methodologies were employed to not only create a sense of authenticity in the work, but also to offer a connection between the past and the present. Consequently, Brücke Display endeavours to stay true to the original manifesto with sharp angular forms, while simultaneously using contemporary digital processes to construct the letterforms. Framed by a contemporary context Brücke Display seizes the opportunity to wield a display typeface in an effort to revive German Expressionism.