Rudolf Koch Biography

Rudolf Koch




Typographer, graphic artist, book designer, and educator Rudolf Koch was born near Hanau, Germany on November 20, 1876. After grade school he apprenticed in a metal goods workshop, affording him the ability to enroll in courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg. He then worked as an independent illustrator and designer for the book trade just as the Art Nouveau period was at its peak and ornate book covers and typefaces were in high demand. He quickly established a reputation as a leading typeface designer, on par with William Morris and others. His penchant for hand-carved artisanal design, inspired by German Gothic manuscripts, set him apart from his peers as the world turned toward more mechanical methods of printing.

Koch was employed by the Klingspor Type Foundry until 1921, when he founded the Offenbacher Werkgemeinschaft, a department of calligraphy and typography at the Offenbach School of Arts and Crafts. He would continue to work and teach until his death from a heart attack in 1934. 

Koch's typefaces are still in use today, among them Wilhelm Klingspor Schrift, Koch-Antiqua, Kabel, Prisma, Marathon, Neuland, and Zeppelin.