Station: [361] Salman Schocken as Perfectionist

Salman Schocken wasn’t only interested in the contents of his books, but also in their design. Book cover, type set, typography and contents were to form a total work of art, because in his opinion, their appearance reflected the Zeitgeist in which they were released.  

Schocken was guided by Doves Press London, an exclusive British private press with bookbindery. Its trademark was a clear and plain font emphasized simply by red initials and column titles. The books were meticulously typeset and sumptuously presented.

The Insel-Bücherei books provided a model for the Schocken Bücherei publications; the only deviations are in the larger format, single-coloured binding, the layout and size of the spine and title labels. Some book titles were even released at the same time by the Insel and Schocken Büchereien.

In Palestine Schocken dedicated himself explicitly to the font. He contracted the designer and calligrapher Franziska Baruch with the design of the title for the  „Haaretz“ daily newspaper and she designed a modernized Hebrew lettering for him that has been available to buy as the Schocken-Baruch-Font since 1958. The Schocken Tel Aviv Publishing Company’s first book appeared in 1948 in the Schocken-Baruch font: a biography about the Israeli state president Chaim Weizmann. According to Salmans daughter-in-law Deborah Schocken, the Schocken-Baruch font can also be found in the first Israeli passport and on the first Israeli Anglo-Palestine-Bank banknote. Erich Mendelsohn was the architect who designed the bank and there’s a model of it in the first-floor bow front exhibition.

The Schocken Company advertising material also had a modern and consistent design. The Bauhaus movement inspired the Schocken „S“, that was the Schocken company logo from 1926 onwards. A variation of it is still used by Schocken Books in New York today and by Hillel Schocken, Salman Schocken’s grandson for his architect’s office. The Hebrew variation by Franziska Baruch is still used by the Schocken Publishers in Tel Aviv.