Lucian Bernhard

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Lucian Bernhard: „Stiller“, 1908
A World War I German propaganda poster urging the sale of war bonds in the Plakatstil style pioneered by Lucian Bernhard.
A sample of Bernhard Modern.

Lucian Bernhard (March 15, 1883 – May 29, 1972) was a German graphic designer, type designer, professor, interior designer, and artist during the first half of the twentieth century. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany, on March 15, 1883, as Emil Kahn to a Jewish family, but changed his name to his more commonly known pseudonym in 1905. His first name is often spelled Lucien.


He was influential in helping create the design style known as Plakatstil (Poster Style), which used reductive imagery and flat-color as well as Sachplakat ('object poster') which restricted the image to simply the object being advertised and the brand name. He was also known for his designs for Stiller shoes, Manoli cigarettes, and Priester matches.[1]

Though he studied briefly at the Akademie in Munich, he was largely self-taught. He moved to Berlin in 1901 where he worked as a poster designer and art director for magazines. In 1920, he became a professor at the Akademie der Künste until 1923, when he emigrated to New York City. In 1928, he opened the Contempora Studio with Rockwell Kent, Paul Poiret, Bruno Paul, and Erich Mendelsohn where he worked as a graphic artist and interior designer. After 1930, he worked primarily as a painter and sculptor until his death on May 29, 1972.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Lucian Bernhard was the father of the photographer Ruth Bernhard.


Types Inspired by Bernhard[edit]

  • Berthold Block (1908, Berthold), drawn by Heinz Hoffmann, is widely said to have been inspired by the letter-forms on Bernhard's posters of the time.[3]
  • Concerto Rounded SG (2002, Spiece Graphics), designed by Jim Spiece in 2002, based on a 1920s concert program lettered by Bernhard.[4]


  • Rollins, Carl Purlington American Type Designers and Their Work. in Print, V. 4, #1.
  • Jaspert, W. Pincus, W. Turner Berry and A.F. Johnson. The Encyclopedia of Type Faces. Blandford Press Lts.: 1953, 1983. ISBN 0-7137-1347-X.
  • MacGrew, Mac, "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century," Oak Knoll Books, New Castle Delaware, 1993, ISBN 0-938768-34-4.
  • Friedl, Ott, and Stein, Typography: an Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Throughout History. Black Dog & Levinthal Publishers: 1998. ISBN 1-57912-023-7.
  1. ^ "Lucien Bernhard". Schoolnet.Uk. Archived from the original on 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  2. ^ Friedl, Ott, and Stein, pp. 124–5.
  3. ^ David Consuegra (2004), American type design and designers, Allworth Communications, Inc. ISBN 1-58115-320-1, p. 78
  4. ^ "Concerto Rounded SG™ - Webfont & Desktop font « MyFonts". 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]