This exhibition investigates how motivations to reinforce, redefine, or transcend national identities shaped the design of printing types between 1900 and 1960.
In this era, the ongoing industrialization of the Western world increased the interaction between nations. Despite this "smaller world" or perhaps even because of it, many felt an urgency to assert a unique national identity. This could take the form of a laudable proud patriotism, or the kind of chauvinistic fervor that fueled the two world wars.
Like more broadly acknowledged forms of cultural expression, the designs of printing types convey the priorities and sensibilities of the cultural contexts in which they were created. The case studies in this exhibition, taken from many different countries, demonstrate that the complex history of national identity in the 20th century can be read in the forms of its letters themselves.