I originally designed Zeit Grotesk while I was still a student. I was in the middle of research for a class assignment when I came across a scan of a type specimen circa 1915 from the Bauersche Gießerei (Bauer Type Foundry). Page after page, I was fascinated by the typography that was nearly a century old–yet it felt so new. I was shocked to see sans-serif typefaces from the early 20th century that never quite made their way onto computers. I felt that visually, they fit in perfectly with our current time.
Something about the century-old typography seemed to beat the test of time. My intention wasn’t to create a revival or to create something entirely new. Zeit Grotesk was my interpretation and a composite of features from many lost typefaces I had discovered in my research.
This sparked my idea to create Zeit Grotesk as three typefaces in one: a core sans-serif that came with three options of terminal endings so that it can have an element of timelessness. The flexibility of choosing which version of Zeit Grotesk to use allows the designer to keep using the same typeface over time while keeping it fresh.
Once the core typeface was designed, the creation the alternatives was quite simple. most characters are shared, but all characters with curved terminals, such as the lowercase a, c, e, s, g, j and capital C, G, J, S come in three versions that change the tone of the type dramatically.