Adobe Has Created Five Fonts From the Lost Lettering of Original Bauhaus Designers

Students made the typefaces from fragments shelved since 1933

The fonts were designed from sketches and design exercises, not complete typefaces, posing a challenge to the designers. Adobe

Last year, to kick off its “Hidden Treasures” campaign, Adobe partnered with an award-winning Photoshop brush maker and Oslo’s Munch Museum to digitally re-create seven of painter Edvard Munch’s original brushes, turning them into tools for Photoshop and Sketch users.

This year, the company has set its sights on the Bauhaus, the short-lived (1919 to 1933) but immensely influential German school of design. And lettering, rather than furniture and architecture, is the focus.

“Hidden Treasures: Bauhaus Dessau” is a series of five free font families that use as their starting point letter fragments and sketches by original members of the Bauhaus. Two of the font families—Xanti, named for Bauhaus designer Xanti Schawinsky, and Joost, for Joost Schmidt—can be downloaded starting today via Adobe Typekit. The rest, also linked directly to Bauhaus members, will be available in the coming months.

The fonts were developed by a team of international typographers and design students, led by renowned type designer Erik Spiekermann.

“The students at the Bauhaus were given exercises to draw letterforms, not to design typefaces. The tools did not exist to do so at a school in 1928,” he explains. “So we imagined what the students would have done had they had computers and type design software. The participants had all designed type before, so there was no risk of technical difficulties. They immediately understood both the challenge and the opportunity.”

You can learn more about the project in this video:

As it did with its Munch brushes, Adobe will be issuing a set of “design challenges,” including a logo design, a business card, and a Behance project. The winner will receive a free trip to Dessau, Germany, home of the Bauhaus archives.

Spiekermann hopes the Bauhaus Dessau project will spark a renewed interest in the Bauhaus movement, but if nothing else, the fonts will appeal to designers’ unquenchable thirst for the new and the cool. “Fonts based on a 90-year history are a great story to tell,” he says.

Here’s a look at the five fonts created from the Bauhaus archives: Kristina Feliciano is the features editor at Adweek.