Back Story: Many a design student dreams of producing a senior year project that might evolve into a professional future. Fecher, a German graphic designer, calligrapher, letterer, typographer, and writer, found a way for his student work to reach a wider audience beyond professors and classmates. He first developed Lektorat as a final project for the EsadType program in Amiens, France, then went on to become the 2019 recipient of the Gerard Unger Scholarship. This annual award from TypeTogether supports the publication of exceptional typeface designs started during a course of study. Post-graduation, Fecher began working with TypeTogether’s principals Veronika Burian and José Scaglione to fine-tune, produce, and license the typeface for sale. “Two historic, narrow, lightweight typefaces by the German type foundry Schelter & Giesecke were a main source of inspiration,” he says. “I was fascinated by the tapered, highly-contrasted junctions of Schlanke Grotesk (published in 1882). Schmale Grotesk (published around the turn of the 20th century) preserves a monolinear stroke with squarish letterforms. My intention was to combine features of both into a new design with squarish, high raised shoulders and thin joins where curved strokes flow deep into the stems.”
Why’s it called Lektorat? Fecher was originally going to call it Redaktion, only to learn that a free font named Redaction, commissioned for The Redaction exhibit in 2019 at MoMA PS1, was already out there. “Lektorat was one of the hardest font families to name,” says Veronika Burian. “Florian was keen on keeping a connection to the editorial purpose of the typeface in the name. We tried many different languages, searching for synonyms and other connections, until we hit upon Lektorat, which in German translates to copy-editing or proofreading.”
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Lektorat is a grotesque meant for headings from dek to display sizes, offered in seven upright weights and three widths: Compressed, Condensed, and Narrow. Sharply angled closing apertures seen in characters such as the lowercase ‘a,’ where the top terminal reaches down to the bowl below, create a rhythm of triangular negative spaces across a line of text. “Some of my curve constructions show similarities with DIN [the standard typeface for traffic signs, street signs, house numbers, and license plates in Germany], which happened completely unconsciously,” Fecher says. “One might assume that’s because I’m German and its variants have been all around me my entire life.”
What should I use it for? Originally developed in the context of news magazines, Lektorat was designed for editorial use and is specifically aimed at immersive reading—the longreads. Its expressive characters add a touch of cool, self-assured style to publications ranging from artist’s catalogs to novels.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Lektorat joins nicely with text faces such as Capitolium, Portada, and Literata. Its sharply cut terminals harmonize well with fat faces such as Bely and Abril, too.