The Berthold City® font family, designed by Georg Trump for Berthold AG in 1930, is a unique hybrid– a revival of a nineteenth century classic, the slab serif, crafted in the dominant geometric style of its era. It united the slab serif with the restrained, mechanical aesthetic promoted by the Bauhaus school.
Berthold City History
Following a resurgence in the popularity of nineteenth century slab serif typefaces with the release of the Memphis™ font family, the Berthold foundry set out to develop their own contribution. Type designer Georg Trump took on the challenge and chose a unique approach—applying the Bauhaus-based geometric look of the day to the historical typeface.
The result was a slab serif that functions aesthetically as a geometric serif. Most popular geometrics of the day, like the Futura® font family, were sans serifs; Trump had created something distinct. The font family was issued in three weights: light, medium, and bold, with romans and italics designed for each weight.
City found a powerful ally in Jan Tschichold, one of the dominant voices of typography in the modernist era. Tschichold promoted the font by including it in his landmark Typographische Gestaltung, even using it for the book’s cover design.
In 2005, the Berthold AG foundry released an OpenType version of Berthold City, called the City® Pro font family. This expanded family includes Latin Extended A characters, Central European characters, and OpenType features such as superscripts, subscripts, and ordinals.
Berthold City Usage
Berthold City was most iconically employed as the graphic text in the IBM logo beginning in 1956 through the present day. IBM also incorporated City in the titles of their instructional manuals for several decades. Given its stylized geometric look, City is more applicable to display and logotype use than body text.