The inner consistency of Gerard Unger

di Riccardo Olocco -


I see Gerard Unger as the most influential type designer of the present age. Not just one of the most influential, but the most influential. His work — his special style of letterforms that you can recognize just from a single shape — has strongly influenced the graphic world in recent decades. Actually it seems to me that over the past fifteen years, since type design became a popular discipline with hundreds of practitioners (compared with the few designers working in the field before digital times) his particular style has been copied in several typefaces, and today it is not easy to recognize an original Unger type from the various imitations. But I might be wrong in considering them as imitations. Luciano Perondi once said that Unger is for type design what Django Reinhardt was for guitar playing. Reinhardt had a peculiar way of playing the guitar and whoever plays in a similar way will be thought of as imitating Django. The same thing is true for Unger and his letterforms: whoever draws counters with such flat curves as Unger has done throughout his career cannot do much more than remind us of him.


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