Creating the Typeface
GT Walsheim’s origins date back to 2009. Its designer, Noël Leu, wanted to learn more about typography and type design while studying visual communication at the University of the Arts Bern in Switzerland. He was immediately drawn to how contemporary a lot of his work still feels. He was especially taken by Baumberger’s very charming geometric lettering.
While learning more about Baumberger’s posters, he started to think about transporting that design vocabulary into the 21st century by creating a typeface. This resulted in the creation of GT Walsheim. Nearly a century after the original designs, Baumberger’s letters are now available as a typeface and have found their place in contemporary graphic design.
Noël began collecting versions of the capital letters from different posters and analyzed their design. It was important to him to understand Baumberger’s intention behind the designs instead of simply tracing outlines.
In a second step, he drew the numbers, which he at first strongly based on the posters he found. Soon he started drawing them more freely, though, to allow for a more curvy and friendly look while not losing the constructed, geometric skeleton.
The original posters barely contain any lowercase letters. True to Baumberger’s lack of typographic education, whenever they appear, they have very little to do with his capital letter designs. Following that realization, Noël instead created his own design logic.
The counter sizing of P and R are the basis for the x-height. This structure also defined other circular elements of the lowercase. The oversized tittles on letters like i and j mirror the large umlauts found on Baumberger’s posters. This gives the typeface a warm and friendly tone, similar to the proportions of a child’s face, that counterbalances the typeface’s geometric nature.