'Master' cover designer Wolpe's work to be showcased

'Master' cover designer Wolpe's work to be showcased

A new exhibition on "master of graphic design", Berthold Wolpe, a cover designer for Faber, is to open this spring.

"Berthold Wolpe – The Total Man" will celebrate the work of the prolific book cover artist and creator of the most widely-used advertising typeface in the UK, Albertus.

The exhibition willl run from 23rd March to 24th June at the Lettering Arts Centre at Snape Maltings, Suffolk. Admission is free.

Developed in conjunction with Wolpe’s family, the event will bring forward the character of a man with a curiosity for collecting anything that might give him inspiration. It will feature personal items, including Wolpe’s design tools, hand-drawn sketches and artwork for his celebrated Faber & Faber covers, complete with white correcting paint refining the hand-drawn black lettering. It will give a new insight into his natural skills, honed techniques and creative process, the organisers said.

Wolpe was born in Germany in 1905. While in London in 1932, he was asked to design a printing type of capital letters for the Monotype Corporation. The typeface he created, Albertus, quickly became the most widely used advertising face in the UK as it was unprotected by any copyright law. In 1941, Wolpe moved to Faber & Faber, creating more than 1,500 covers up to his retirement in 1975.

He taught at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, the Royal College of Art and ran a lettering course at the City and Guilds of London. In 1966, Wolpe created a new masthead for The Times newspaper.

Guest curator, Phil Cleaver, professor in the Creative Industries at Middlesex University and visiting Professor of Typography at Birmingham City University, said: “We would like you to leave the exhibition with a feeling of having met this master of calligraphy and type design.

"The wealth of artworks that we are able to display carries the human touch, an element so evidently missing from our computer-generated age, where graphic design is becoming increasingly surgical and sterile. These artworks open up a bygone era of design and will hopefully inspire young designers to close their laptops and get messy with paper and ink, producing work which carries their own DNA and not that of the Mac.”

Accompanying the exhibition will be a new book featuring Wolpe’s hand-drawn artworks, alongside new essays, stories and anecdotes from friends, family and admirers. It will be available at the exhibition or via education@letteringartstrust.org.uk.