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Kabel is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed by German typeface designer Rudolf Koch, and released by the Klingspor foundry in 1927. Today the typeface is licensed by the Elsner+Flake GbR foundry.
The face was not named after any specific cable, although the Zugspitze cable car had been completed in 1926, and a Berlin-Vienna facsimile telegraphy line opened in 1927. The name had techy cachet in its day (Piet Zwart's NKF kabel catalogue of 1927 is well-known) and is primarily metaphorical and allusive, a pun referring to both the monolinear construction of the face, and the role of type as a means of communication.
Like its contemporary Futura it bears influence of two earlier geometric sans-serif typefaces; the 1919 Feder Schrift, drawn by Jakob Erbar, and more so his 1922 design called Erbar. Still, Kabel is as much Expressionist as it is Modernist, and may be considered as a sans serif version of his 1922 Koch Antiqua, sharing many of its character shapes and proportions, most notably its peculiar 'g'. Stroke weights are more varied than most geometric sans-serifs, and the terminus of vertical strokes are cut to a near eight-degree angle. This has the effect of not quite sitting on the baseline and making for a more animated, less static feeling than Futura. Uppercase characters are broad and show influence of monumental roman capitals. The capital W is splayed and the G has no terminal. Lowercase characters a, e, and g show a link with Carolingian script.
Victor Caruso's 1975 revival, licensed by D Stempel AG, for the International Typeface Corporation follows the formulary ITC approach of a dramatically increased x-height accompanied by multiple weights from Book to Ultra.
- NBC's logotypes are in Kabel, and a heavyweight Kabel was also used for NBC Sports' on screen graphics from 1985-89.
- A shadowed bold weight version of Kabel was used for many years on MTV as the typeface in the opening/closing lower third credits of music videos until 2011, when sister network MTV Jams used it for the last time.
- A modified use of Kabel is used for the L'eggs Pantyhose logo.
- A lower-case Kabel font is used as the typeface in the logo and other promotional materials for supermarket chain Piggly Wiggly.
- The typeface was used extensively in the credits and on-screen lyrics for the movie, Yellow Submarine.
- The Velvet Underground's albums White Light/White Heat and The Velvet Underground, both designed by Billy Name, use the typeface.
- My Bloody Valentine's album Loveless, as well as its follow up MBV, used the typeface. The band's main songwriter, Kevin Shields, also wrote songs for the soundtrack of the Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation, which used a heavy weight version of the typeface for its titles.
- Kabel is used at the typeface for the Self album Breakfast with Girls.
- Kabel is used in the opening and closing credits of Saved by the Bell.
- The ultra version Kabel is used in the opening/closing credits of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
- The typeface was used in the titling of the TV series Joey. The typeface was used in its book weight.
- Kabel Black was used in the opening episode titles of the Disney cartoon series DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Talespin and Darkwing Duck.
- Kabel is used on the cards, box and instruction booklets of the popular 1990s handheld electronic game Barcode Battler.
- Kabel is used in the popular board game Monopoly.
- Kabel is used for the cast aluminum lettering on most buildings around Cornell University's Ithaca, New York campus.
- Kabel is used in the logo of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club.
- ITC Kabel Medium is the font used for the Georgia Times logo.
- Kabel Ultra is the typeface favored by the hate group Westboro Baptist Church for use in its picket signs.
- The K Desktop Environment uses Kabel in its logo and related artwork.
- Kabel is used in the O RLY? internet meme image.
- Kabel is used in some The Sims 3 logotypes.
- Kabel is used throughout the SimCity Social game.
- Kabel is also used throughout Daft Punk's video series "The Collaborators", promoting their album Random Access Memories.
- Kabel is used in the logo for popular YouTuber "iJustine"
- Blackwell, Lewis. 20th Century Type. Yale University Press: 2004. ISBN 0-300-10073-6.
- Fiedl, Frederich, Nicholas Ott and Bernard Stein. Typography: An Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Through History. Black Dog & Leventhal: 1998. ISBN 1-57912-023-7.
- Jaspert, W. Pincus, W. Turner Berry and A.F. Johnson. The Encyclopædia of Type Faces. Blandford Press Lts.: 1953, 1983. ISBN 0-7137-1347-X.
- Macmillan, Neil. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. ISBN 0-300-11151-7.