It was late October 1991, and a perfect Indian summer. Just after 4 p.m., the motorbike turned off the Leutkirch road into the idyllic Rotisweg. A few bends further down the road stood the home of Inge Aicher-Scholl
, sister of Hans and Sophie Scholl, both Nazi-era resistance fighters. Her husband was in the front garden, just attending to the lawn, when the vehicle skidded off the road at the last bend and collided with the world-famous designer. Otl Aicher
died of his injuries six days later.
Three years earlier, Aicher had created his most famous work, the hybrid font Rotis
, named after the place where he lived. What made the font family special were the hitherto unknown semi-serif and semi-sans versions, and its idiosyncratic individual forms, as seen in the minuscule e and c. The typeface’s “rough edges” have not hindered its success, in fact quite the opposite: it still has ardent admirers today. When the font family was re-released in 2009, Greek and Cyrillic characters were included for the first time.
The cover of Aicher’s standard work
Typographie, recently reprinted by Hermann Schmidt (Mainz)
Even those who disagree with Otl Aicher’s typographical standpoints cannot fail to acknowledge that he was unrivalled in his commitment to the critical study of typography. His book on the Rotis typeface (Typographie
) was recently reissued.
Aicher checks the final draft of his font Rotis Sans (Photo: Agfa)
One final inspection of the film proofs for Rotis (Photo: Agfa)