Updated: Mar 9, 2022
This Cooper 1961 Nürburgring poster features the German Grand Prix (Grosser Preis von Deutschland) which returned to Nürburgring in 1961 after the fiasco of the AVUS circuit in Berlin a couple of years earlier.
Starting second on the grid, World Champion Jack Brabham, driving a Cooper-Climax, stormed into the lead from the start but spun off before completing the first lap. The race was eventually won by Stirling Moss driving a Lotus-Climax with Ferrari taking second and third places on the podium.
The typeface I have chosen to complement my illustration is Compacta, a design for which I have always had a great fondness. When I got my first job in a London art studio after leaving school in 1964, the world was a strange place for a country boy. Commercial art studios at that time employed a great number of specialist artists; illustrators, lettering artists, retouchers, paste-up artists and more, although even then the industry was changing fast as press advertising replaced hand-drawn illustration with photography and lettering artists became very much a dying breed.
But one great revelation was Letraset, a dry-transfer system of rub-down lettering, a relatively new product to the industry, having first appeared in 1959. And Compacta was an instant favourite font of mine. It was designed by Fred Lambert, a typography teacher at the London College of Printing as well as freelancing for Letraset, and Compacta was Letraset’s first original typeface design, introduced in 1963.
The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed a little artistic licence in my poster design, as the chosen font for this 1961 design did not appear until two years later. German designers of this time would have doubtless used a font called Haettenschweiler, on which Compacta was based, but this was not available in England. But anyway, I wanted to convey a 1960s feel, and this design was very popular and widely used at that time, and remains for me very evocative of the period.
I have dressed the lettering in the colours of the German flag, a graphic device I have used before, albeit with the Italian flag, in the Alfa Romeo Monza poster below.