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The typographic Times
[November 2007]
Preissig / Czech Modernist
by Richard Kegler
P22 Preissig
A typeface designed
by Vojtech Pressig

The Czech Modernist font set is a collection of 3 fonts originally designed by Vojtěch Preissig in the early 20th Century. Preissig spent 20 years of his professional life working in the US (1910-1930) but retaining close ties to his native Czechoslovakia. He was an active political artist designing recruitment posters (in Boston) to enlist Czech and Slovaks living in America to join in the fight against the Austro Hungarian empire in WWI and returning to Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, his anti Nazi propaganda ended up sealing his fate as he was arrested and ultimately died in a concentration camp.

A Czech typographic identity

Preissig’s typographic work focused on the desire to find a true Czech typographic identity by addressing the predominance of diactrics in the Czech language. His experiments which fall between the Art Nouveau of his early work and the angular starkness of the Czech Cubist movement.

Vojtech Preissig, 1914 Source: Czech Cubism and the Book, 2004

His aims were to undermine the precision of machine cut fonts of the era and re-introduce the visible hand of the craftsman into the work. His many experiments only resulted in one manufactured design (Preissig Antikva) which was produced by the Czech State foundry and used in State printing house publications of fine press books in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Richard Kegler digitized typefaces

Digitized by Richard Kegler, the P22 Czech Modernist set includes P22 Preissig Roman, P22 Preissig Scrape and P22 Preissig Extras.


Source: Invitation for the Type Club of Toronto, 2004

Another Preissig typeface by Richard Kegler

Preissig Roman (or Preissig Antikva) was a light serifed face designed with seemingly straight lines rather than curves, retaining a surprising readability at small sizes while being extremely decorative at larger sizes.


Related article: Richard Kegler interview (November 2007)

Typography fonts