Futura, geometry and simplicity

So we’re in a new place! IRL! Exciting! So I’ll be on a better schedule, and be able to keep to Friday uploads 🙂 Aren’t you just terribly thrilled? … perhaps not. But I’ll imagine you are.

At the suggestion of my dear friend and close second love of my life, I’ll be writing about Futura.  And I guess it’s time, considering how many serif typefaces I’ve already written about.  Similar to Helvetica, Futura is very commonly used in logotypes and signage. It has a very well developed font library, with a variety of weights, sizes, and styles. It is the typographical embodiment of the Bauhaus movement–although his designer is not explicitly a part of that movement.

The original design was first available in 1927, created by Paul Renner.  Renner was (probably) a very straightforward designer, having a strict Protestant and German upbringing. He didn’t really enjoy (perhaps didn’t understand?) free-form or abstract arts, and enjoyed lively debates with friend Jan Tschichold, who was trained in calligraphy before designing typography.  To his credit, he didn’t enjoy or understand Nazi-ism either, and in fact ended up exiled after 1933.

The letterforms are low contrast, simple, very geometric. This would make it very clean and modern.  Renner, however, has a call back to classical Roman lettering with the proportions of the capitol letters.  It’s really kind of perfect, considering the person he is.

Futura has inspired many imitators, including Avenir and Braggadocio. We wouldn’t have Century Gothic were it not for Futura. It’s been used in logos for Ikea (though they switched to Verdana to accommodate web design futures)

Volkswagen Logo 3

and Best Buy

movie posters for American Beauty

throughout 2001: a Space Odyssey

and pretty much every Wes Anderson creation…

Sesame Street…

The Vampire Weekend Albums….

vampire-weekend-modern-vampires-of-the-city_custom-2b46388a2a6e782e6ed34176ea4abdbd6c11e3bb-s6-c30 The Watchmen graphic novels…

This vodka…
absolut-vodka-outrageous-print ad



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: