Manfred Klein - the interview
1) The early years
2) Günter Gerhard Lange
3) Kleins Fonteria
4) Family and philosophy
Manfred @ typOasis
How about the years after the exciting GGL-time?
The years between 1950 and 1985 were dedicated to content more than to design. In the AEG head office I was involved in the development of a corporate design, but mainly I was in customer advisory service. I became a contact man at Heumann, when I couldn't stand it in the industry any longer.
Until 1982, I left the visual design gladly to my colleagues in layout, the Art Director etc. It's great if one can simply accept their work. My base job included the development of concepts, strategy and all the wording for a project - however, the ADs always accepted me as one of their kind when it came to design problems. So I had a special position compared to other writers and contact men. Image concepts were part of an advertising message: writers might describe them, but they did not have to draw.
You took part in the eighties' DTP-revolution, which influence did digitalization have on your job and font-design?

When I look at some of my characters I think they would be better transferred to large sizes on canvas. But I took oil, watercolours and brushes out of my hand in 1986, when I realized that a Macintosh was both a typographic and artistic tool. At that time I wrote that something was happening that soon might have a strong effect on the graphical industry. Those who could print Times and Helvetica on a laser printer in a “typographically correct” way would be able to do the same with a lot of other typefaces and of professional quality. There were some colleagues who smiled at me and at my mouse cinema (Mac) - however, many enterprise owners did not get over the following 10 years of the DTP-revolution.

I restarted my own typographic work after 1982, after selling my agency to Ogilvy (today Ogilvy Focus) for personal reasons. I withdrew from numerous old and new customers, because there were too many disgusting compromises to make as a creative supplier (a.k.a. Consultant). There was enough money, so it was possible to say “We had a good time, but now I want to do something else … ”.

First I worked the old fashioned way with paper, adhesive and assembly for Stempel / Linotype, and later for Monotype.
I got back to publishing regularly: columns like TypoNews for the Druckspiegel, but with Macs getting a spread in 1986, I also did articles about digital typography, e.g. PAGE, Macup-publishing house, Hamburg. I stopped in about 1990.
By the way, I was co-author of two books on type, one of which was ‘DTP, Typography and Layout’ with Hans D. Baumann, Falken-Verlag
How do you manage your daily font production?
I have been creating fonts since 1990, until 2001 mainly ‘on the trash heap’. My first fonts were released in 1991 by FontShop and others. Throughout those years I have tried everything possible with software. This builds up incredible skill. And I have started about a hundred Fonts and then put them aside, this is a significant amount of raw material. That’s why I am such a fast font creator. Besides, I was used to working fast and precisely. And sometimes I see a font that can be modified into something completely different with a few tricks.
But also my attitude towards type has changed: I don’t want to copy the old models or scan them slavishly; I recognize my chance to make some old things look different, so they can catch the attention of younger creators - from the professionals up to the lovers. And I understand the ‘font’ format as a container, like a bucket which can hold more than just water.
Zapf proved with his Dingbats that a ‘font’ can also be a pictoral medium like canvas or a raw stone. Tinguiley shows me that it’s possible to create new things from ‘scrap’ which are considered art by some people - and disgusting objects by others.
On the one hand you have the technical know-how as well as the experience of many years with your tools, on the other your creativity is almost incredible, can you explain it?
Actually it is very simple: 
You have to study and to respect the old masters. When I decided on the 42-line Bible Gutenberg as my first design work, I was not satisfied with the scans. I took the blurry scans as a starting point; however, I had in mind that the old guy in Mainz and later Koch in Offenbach would have designed sharp, square characters. That was how I intended to make my Johannes G look.
Johannes G, available at Fontshop
free font: Gutenbergs Ghost

* Always try to combine new things a new way: treat the characters or parts of them with tools including options that many people never use, partly because of technical lack, partly, because this new meta-character does not match their linear thinking. Think inventively or artistically, although I'd replace this word instead with ‘communicative’.

* You can learn methods of being creative. Instead of concluding logically, you have to tell surprising and credible stories which marketing people can't express, but which are understood by your target audience. Don't think logically, but associatively, ergo crosswise. If only some politicians practiced this! (Brandt and Bahr were able to do so, but they were journalists.)

free font: Headfeeters Three
* It's possible to learn the method: think in alternatives and new connections: a collage of skull and leg, crazy, it works! See Headfeeters
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