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Staedtler Laser Printer Film packaging

Contributed by Thomas Van Herck on Jul 9th, 2018. Artwork published in
circa 1980
.
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    License: All Rights Reserved.

    This is a Laser Printer Film packaging from the German company Staedtler. The logo we see was used between 1973 and 2001. This printed matter finds its origin around the 1980s (I guess), when the first commercial laser printers started to appear.

    The logo appears to use Handel Gothic as a basic, but it is customised for the brand. We see two strange ligatures, a crooked A and straightened E’s and L’s. Only the R has its original shape. I couldn’t find the name of the logo designer or more info about the use of Handel Gothic in the history of Staedtler. Handel Gothic was created by Donald J. Handel in the 1960s and issued by Robert Trogman’s FotoStar/Facsimile Fonts.

    The rest of the packaging uses a combination of Antique Olive, Futura, Handel Gothic, Helvetica and Helvetica Condensed. Also notice the adjusted Ü (in Futura).

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    License: All Rights Reserved.
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    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Typefaces

    • Antique Olive
    • Futura
    • Handel Gothic
    • Helvetica Condensed
    • Helvetica

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    2 Comments on “Staedtler Laser Printer Film packaging”

    1. Jul 9th, 2018  11:23 am

      Thank you, Thomas!

      I’m not convinced that the Staedtler logo is directly based on the Handel Gothic typeface. In addition to the many differences you pointed out, details in S or D are off, too, and the R is neither a match for the straight-legged glyph nor the alternate with the curved leg. But it could very well be the case that Handel Gothic and similar “space age” typefaces indirectly provided inspiration for the logo.

      It certainly presented a big step into the future for the venerable company’s visual identity. The previous logo was introduced only ten years earlier. With the high contrast and the flared stems, the custom-drawn wordmark from 1963 is not too far away from Optima Bold (1958). Interestingly, it already featured (almost) horizontal top, center, and bottom strokes for S.

      The ST ligature may look strange today, but in the German tradition, this pair was considered nearly indivisible, certainly as lowercase pair in Fraktur (ſt), and by extension sometimes also in capitals and other letter styles, see e.g. these signs for STALF or POLSTER. The DT might have been motivated phonetically – it represents a single sound. The reasoning behind the ligatures is also visual, of course. They help to make the wordmark more cohesive. Maybe too cohesive, though: In the currently used version (since 2001), the ligatures were dissolved and the spacing increased, for more distinct individual letters.

      See also the evolution of the Mars head in the logo on the Staedtler website.

      Good observation about the compact dots in Ü! It’s not necessarily an adjustment made by the designer: Most fonts including Futura used to come with compact forms for capital umlauts. In the mid-1980s, Scangraphic added alternate compact umlaut glyphs to the Headline cuts of their Supertypes series, see e.g. Futura SH. The fonts in URW’s Poster series have such lowered dots, too. This useful tradition is being picked up for contemporary type designs, see e.g FF Mark.

    2. Jul 11th, 2018  2:43 pm

      Hey Florian, Thank you for the adjustments, good analysis and additions! Indeed maybe a bit fast from me to directly link Handel Gothic to the Staedtler logo. I agree with your remarks.

      Also nice to learn more about these ‘odd’ ligatures!

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