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Berthold Wolpe - The Total Man

  • Lettering Arts Centre Snape Maltings Suffolk IP17 1SP (map)

Exhibition info

Berthold Wolpe – The Total Man, is the first exhibition to present the whole story of a master of graphic design and creator of over 1,500 Faber & Faber cover designs.


This exhibition is packed with previously unseen material, revealing the character and skills of the creator of 'Albertus' which, in 1932, became the most widely used advertising typeface in the UK. Visitors will see hand-drawn artwork, typeface designs, paintings, creative tools, personal objects and artefacts from the Wolpe family collection.

We are honoured to have created this exhibition with Berthold Wolpe’s family, and to showcase the life of a man known for his insatiable curiosity and love of collecting anything that would inspire him. Wolpe’s design tools, artwork for his famed Faber & Faber book covers, and sketches are all on display; all serving to highlight the working process of a master.

Guest curated by Phil Cleaver, Professor in the Creative Industries at Middlesex University and visiting Professor of Typography at Birmingham City University

Berthold Wolpe – The Total Man

  • 1905 – Born in Germany
  • 1932 – While in London, Wolpe designs 'Albertus' for the Monotype Corporation. It becomes the most widely used advertising face in the UK
  • 1930-33 – Teaches in Frankfurt and Offenbach
  • 1935 – Works at Fanfare Press in London, where he designed a lower case for 'Albertus' and several new display and text faces, including Pegasus and Tempest, and a distinctive series of dustjackets for Gollancz
  • 1935 – Settles in England
  • 1941 – Moves to Faber & Faber, creating over 1,500 covers during his time there
  • 1947 – Wolpe’s 1937 application for naturalisation finally granted
  • 1959 – Made a Royal Designer for Industry
  • 1966 – Creates a new masthead for The Times
  • 1975 – Retires from Faber & Faber
  • 1983 – Appointed OBE
  • 1989 – Wolpe dies

We would like you to leave the exhibition with a feeling of having met this master of calligraphy and type design. The wealth of artworks that we are able to display carries the human touch, an element so evidently missing from our computer-generated age, where graphic design is becoming increasingly surgical and sterile. These artworks open up a bygone era of design and will hopefully inspire young designers to close their laptops and get messy with paper and ink, producing work which carries their own DNA and not that of the Mac.
— Phil Cleaver, guest curator

Visitor info

Opening times: Friday-Monday: 11:00am – 5:00pm (including bank holidays)
Closed Tuesday-Thursday.
Further information: 01728 688393
Admission Free.

Earlier Event: March 1
Master carver demonstration
Later Event: April 21
The Alde Valley Spring Festival