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CALIGARI PRO

The silent film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) is undoubtedly one of the breathtaking milestones within the German Expressionist Movement, a time of extraordinarily creative works of art as a reaction to a world in rapid change. The original intertitles of Caligari were worked out by the set designers (and painters) Walter Reimann, Walter Röhrig, and Hermann Warm, using a unique expressionistic language of form for dramatic and iconic lettering.

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1002 characters

Published by Elsner+Flake
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When we were commissioned by the Institut Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt and publisher Hatje Cantz to design the catalog for the exhibition The Total Artwork in Expressionism—showing works of art, architecture, film, literature, theater, and dance—it was soon perfectly clear that a new typeface, inspired by the Caligari intertitles, should speak for all the expressionistic arts.
An intense process of research and analysis began. The original letters of the Caligari intertitles were individuals on their own. Furthermore, each of the three title designers had added his specific approach to the basic Caligari type style. From hundreds of different As to Zs a choice had to be made, which should be THE characteristic Caligari letter for a digital typesetting font. Finally the chosen letters were cut and drawn again, missing letters were added according to the formal principles, all-in-all 1000 glyphs were digitised to complete a useful OpenType font ready for use. When in the autumn of 2010 the exhibition started successfully with great media interest, the posters all over Darmstadt announced “You must become Caligari!”—set in the brandnew typeface.
The font Caligari offers alternative forms for every letter and a whole bunch of ligatures, thus creating an expressive, individual image of headlines and text. By using included Stylistic Alternates the image will get even more vivid. Caligari comes with a complete set of expressionist ornaments and true old style figures—thus the heyday of the Expressionist Movement and the era of the silent films can be revived typographically by the means of today: “Express Yourself!”.


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