H. Berthold AG Firmeneingang

„GGL is Berthold“, this dictum was only possible because here was an individual representing something with passionate integrity and inner conviction, based on his own effort and achievements. For more than forty years Günter Gerhard Lange was in active service for H. Berthold AG, thirty of them as Art Director and twenty as authorised signatory. He started in 1950 with the intention of creating fonts as good as the Monotype. With his high quality standards, GGL succeeded to turn the Berthold brass line and advertising outfit, often ridiculed by its competitors, into a font library of global renown.

“Accurate as Berthold Brass”

In 1858 Hermann Berthold (1831-1904) founded the “Institut für Galvanotypie” (Institution for Galvanotype) for the manufacture of brass lines and galvanoplastic work for letterpress printing. He was not only an entrepreneur, but also an inventor. Thus, by using brass instead of the hitherto used lead or zinc, he achieved a more accurate line thickness with, at the same time, greater durability. Other inventions are the angled hook with wedge lever lock (1864) and, in 1878, a typometer which became the standard measuring system in the German type foundry industry. 

Growth and Destruction

With the slogan “Accurate like Berthold Brass” the company kept growing, and by 1918 was the largest type foundry worldwide. Further acquisitions, own foundations and takeover of other type foundries ensured its continued flourishing. Towards the end of the Second World War its main plant in Berlin was hit in a bombing raid. During the battles around Berlin at the end of April 1945 the font store burned down completely and valuable matrice stocks were destroyed. For a while the operation came to a complete standstill.

Building the Font Library

When Günter Gerhard Lange started working for H. Berthold AG, the need for new and quickly produced advertising fonts was enormous. Initially GGL designs calligraphic writing fonts like Derby, Solemnis, Boulevard, champion, El Greco and, as a first set typeface, the Arena (→ see fonts). Although Berthold had always focused mainly on basic commerce printing and advertising, GGL now actively promoted the development of sophisticated text fonts. The conversion from lead to photo typesetting finally brought with it a consistent growth of the font library: advertising fonts, classic text fonts and contemporary exclusive fonts.

→ see also Fonts
H. Berthold AG Werbebroschüre »Berthold-Schriften für Sie«, Design: Günter Gerhard Lange, undatiert
H. Berthold AG diatype Schriftscheibe Akzidenz-Grotesk fett

GGL, the Promoter of Photo Typesetting

The change from lead to photo typesetting in just over ten years can only be described as revolutionary. For H. Berthold AG, this revolution started as early as 1952. However, it was to take a few more years before the diatype device, later simply called diatype, was to emerge. After a lengthy development period, costing millions, the chairman of the board, Thier, wanted to stop the whole project. Günter Gerhard Lange, however, had recognized the signs if the times and managed to assert himself. At the Drupa in 1958 the prototype of Berthold’s first photo typesetting machine was presented to the public. By 1960 the machine was ready for the market and sales figures were rising.

GGL, the Artistic Director

In 1960 Günter Gerhard Lange is promoted to Art Director of H. Berthold AG, from 1961 in permanent employment. In this position GGl not only is responsible for Berthold’s  exclusive fonts, but for all fonts of the Berthold library, icluding the fonts of ITC and Monotype.  Apart from these countless adaptations, GGL made a name for himself specifically through his new interpretations of old established lead fonts for photo typesetting, e.g. the AG Old Face, Baskerville, Caslon, Deepdene, Walbaum Buch and Standard. Apart from his own fonts for lead casting, GGL developed the following original fonts for phototype: AG Buch, Bodoni Old Face, Concorde, Franklin Antiqua, Garamond, Imago.

→ see also Fonts

Berthold Types Limited

In 1990, Günter Gerhard Lange officially retires. In 1993, three years later, H. Berthold AG has to file for bankruptcy. The ever faster technological change had not been recognized by the changing board of directors. In 1995, Harvey and Melissa Hunt in Chicago took over the rights to Berthold. For GGL, the bankruptcy of the company for which he had worked for forty years and the uncertain whereabouts of the Berthold library was a bitter loss. And so in 2000, at the age of almost 80, he once again took over the management of the “Berthold Exclusive Collection”. Newly created are the typefaces Whittingham, Arena New, four cuts of Imago, and new editions of Akzidenz Grotesk and Bodoni Old Face.

The Berthold signet as a synonym for GGL and vice versa. This was not least due to the fact that GGL was known like “a colorful dog” through the lectures he gave during his time at H. Berthold AG at trade fairs, trade events and conferences and represented the company like no other.

GGLange signet — Günter Gerhard Lange
H. Berthold AG: “Imago”, Berthold exklusiv type specimen 010, undated
H. Berthold AG
H. Berthold AG: “Akzidenz-Grotesk, die klassiche Grotesk-Schrift”, Berthold exklusiv type specimen 013, undated
H. Berthold AG: “Walbaum”, Berthold exklusiv type specimen 016, undated
H. Berthold AG: “Franklin-Antiqua”, Berthold exklusiv type specimen 019, undated

Günter Gerhard Lange’s field of activity at H. Berthold AG is divided into the following areas:

1

Post-war rebuilding of the type foundry and the in-house printing shop; development of new advertising fonts a priority

2

Implementation of photo typesetting, development of new photoset fonts

3

Transformation of lead type fonts for photo typesetting

4

Conception, text and design of company brochures, type samples, professional articles, books and type historic teaching and marketing material

5

Build-up of text fonts for the Berthold font library and the exclusive font library

6

Type designer for lead casting, photosetting, digital

7

 Consultation, correction, implementing new Berthold exclusive fonts from other typographers

8

Transfer and processing of fonts from other manufacturers, e.g. ITC, Monotype, Linotype

9

Lectures, approx. 33 per year (→ lectures)

Further reading on H. Berthold AG

Das Haus Berthold 1858—1921 (1921)
Published for the 25th anniversary of the stock corporation.

100 Jahre Berthold. Gestaltung von Günter Gerhatd Lange

100 Jahre Berthold (1958)
Commemorative publication for the 100th anniversary of H. Berthold AG on July 1, 1958.

Die Berthold-Gruppe (1973)
Data and facts on the history and development of the group.

Berthold Journal 125 Years, undated [1983]

Berthold Journal: 125 Jahre [1983]
For the company’s 125th anniversary in 1983.

References

  1. Hermann Hoffmann [Ed.]: Das Haus Berthold 1858–1921: zum 25-jährigen Bestehen der Aktiengesellschaft. Berlin: A. Wohlfeld in Magdeburg, 1921.

  2. H. Berthold [Ed.]: 100 Jahre Berthold: Festschrift zum 100-jährigen Jubiläum der H. Berthold Messinglinienfabrik und Schriftgiesserei AG, Berlin, Stuttgart, am 1. Juli 1958. Berlin, Stuttgart: H. Berthold AG, 1958.

  3. H. Berthold AG [Ed.]: Die Berthold Gruppe. Berlin: H. Berthold AG, 1973.

  4. Berthold Journal: 125 Jahre · 125 Years · 125 Ans. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag; Happy Birthday to you; Joyeux anniversaire. Berlin: H. Berthold AG [1983].

  5. Philipp Luidl [Ed.]: G.G.L.: Günter Gerhard Lange. Zusammensgestellt, herausgegeben und Günter Gerhard Lange gewidmet von Philipp Luidl. Munich: Typographische Gesellschaft München, 1983.

  6. Yvonne Schwemer-Scheddin: “Gelebtes Leben ist gelebte Schrift”. In: Deutscher Drucker, Nr. 17, 2. Mai 1991. pp.g34 – g36.

  7. Yvonne Schwemer-Scheddin: “Ein azyklischer Geburtstagsgruß”. In: vier Seiten, Mitteilungen der Typographischen Gesellschaft München e.V., Ausgabe 17, march 2002. pp.1–2.

  8. Typografische Monatsblätter, 71. Jahrgang, Heft 2. Sonderheft Günter Gerhard Lange. Zurich, 2.2003.

  9. Herbert Lechner: “Schriftschätze und Innovationen – 150 Jahre H. Berthold AG / Typefaces and innovation – 150 years of H. Berthold AG.” In: novum 09/08. Munich: Stiebner, 2008. pp.20 – 21.

  10. Yvonne Schwemer-Scheddin: “Schrift, die spröde Geliebte – verlassen”. In: vier Seiten, Mitteilungen der Typographischen Gesellschaft e.V.,Ausgabe 39, March 2009. pp.1–3.

  11. Wolfgang Beinert: Lange, Günter Gerhard. In: Typolexikon.de, Das Lexikon der Typografie.  https://www.typolexikon.de/lange-guenter-gerhard/, 31.3.2021.

Illustrations

  1. Firmeneingang H. Berthold AG. Quelle: 100 Jahre Berthold, 1958.

  2. Hermann Berthold. Quelle: Das Haus Berthold, 1921.

  3. Quelle: 100 Jahre Berthold, 1958.

  4. Faltblatt »Berthold-Schriften für Sie«. Bestand Kirsten Solveig Schneider

  5. Diatype-Schriftscheibe. Quelle: Industriemuseum.be

  6. Faltblatt »akzidenz grotesk pro«. Bestand Kirsten Solveig Schneider

  7. Signet »GGLange«. Quelle: Typografische Monatsblätter 2.2003

  8. »Imago« Berthold exklusiv Schriftprobe 010. Bestand Kirsten Solveig Schneider

  9. »Bodoni Old Face« Berthold exklusiv Schriftprobe 011. Bestand Kirsten Solveig Schneider

  10. »Akzidenz-Grotesk« Berthold exklusiv Schriftprobe 013. Bestand Kirsten Solveig Schneider

  11. »Walbaum« Berthold exklusiv Schriftprobe 016. Bestand Kirsten Solveig Schneider

  12. Berthold-Publikationen: Bestand Kirsten Solveig Schneider