A Man of Letters

The German typographer and designer Berthold Wolpe worked at Faber & Faber for over three decades, where he is estimated to have designed over 1,500 book covers and defined the style of the Faber book jacket, including the use of his famous ‘Albertus’ typeface. Wolpe was Jewish and had fled Nazi Germany with his family before the Second World War, and it was Albertus, commissioned by Stanley Morison for the Monotype Corporation, that saved their lives. It became one of the most popular typefaces of the 20th century and is still used on all the City of London street signs. During his long career, he left a distinctive mark on graphic design and a deep impression on those who knew him. To celebrate the life and work of Berthold Wolpe, Patrick Bernard is joined by three of his children: Sarah Lawrence, Paul Wolpe, and the artist Deborah Hopson-Wolpe; and Phil Cleaver, author of ‘Berthold Wolpe: The Total Man’, and curator of an exhibition of his work at the Lettering Arts Centre in 2018. This programme is part of an ongoing series of events following the official end of the Insiders/Outsiders festival in 2020.

‘Berthold Wolpe: The Total Man’ is published by Impress and can be bought here: https://www.impress-publishing.com/berthold-wolpe-the-total-man.html.

Deborah Hopson-Wolpe’s work at The Olney Pottery can be found here: http://www.deborah-hopson-wolpe.co.uk/.

The Lettering Arts Trust: https://www.letteringartstrust.org.uk/.

The Type Archive: http://www.typearchive.org/.

For more information about Insiders/Outsiders, a nationwide arts festival celebrating refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture, please visit: https://insidersoutsidersfestival.org/.

Here is some of Margaret Wolpe’s work, courtesy of Deborah Hopson-Wolpe:

And here is some of my own collection of ‘Faber Paper Covered Editions’, most of which were designed by Berthold, but some – like ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath, designed by Shirley Tucker – were not:

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