Rudolf Koch

A master of blackletter typefaces

The creation of letters, in any form, is the purest and greatest pleasure in my life.

Rudolf Koch

Between 1892 and 1896 Rudolf Koch, who was born the son of a sculptor father, successfully completed an apprenticeship as a chaser before going onto train as a drawing instructor at the Nürnberg Kunstgewerbeschule (school of arts and crafts) and Munich’s Technische Hochschule (Technical University). In 1906, after an interim spell in Leipzig, he took up a creative post at the Rudhardschen type foundry (later known as Klingspor Brothers) in Offenbach am Main while also working as a teacher at the same city’s technical academy.

In the years that followed, Koch was hired by companies such as Klingspor and D. Stempel AG in Frankfurt am Main and in the process created the typefaces that made him famous, most notably Deutsche Schrift (1908, also known as Koch Schrift), Deutsche Zierschrift (1921) and Offenbacher Schrift (released posthumously in 1936). His main interest lay in Gothic scripts which he considered to be the most beautiful and venerable tradition in Germany’s national heritage. The most famous of his sans-serif typefaces is Kabel (1927), a decorative variant of the Zeppelin font (1929). As a graphic designer, Koch created books for the Insel Verlag, among other publishers, while also designing a range of ecclesiastical vestments.