Futura: A Type Specimen

Futura is probably one of the most recognizable typefaces among designers and type enthusiasts. It’s definitely a fan favorite.

Corporations like Best Buy and Forever 21 have adopted it into their visual identity, it was the first font on the moon, Stanley Kubrick loves it, I love it, we all love it! It laid a solid foundation for geometric sans-serif typefaces to come, so I wanted to pay tribute to Futura with a type specimen. Thank you Futura, and sorry if we designers overuse you…it’s only because we like you.

History and Usage

Futura is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed in 1927 by Paul Renner It is based on geometric shapes that became representative of visual elements of the Bauhaus design style of 1919-1933. It was commissioned as a typeface by the Bauer Type Foundry, in reaction to Ludwig & Mayerís seminal Erbar of 1922. Futura has an appearance of efficiency and forwardness. Although Renner was not associated with the Bauhaus, he shared many of its idioms and believed that a modern typeface should express modern models, rather than be a revival of a previous design. Rennerís design rejected the approach of previous sans-serif designs which were based on the models of sign painting, condensed lettering, and nineteenth-century serif typefaces, in favor of simple geometric forms: near-perfect circles, triangles, and squares. It is based on strokes of near-even weight, which are low in contrast. The lowercase has tall ascenders, which rise above the cap line, and uses a single-story ëaí and ëg,í previously more common in handwriting than in printed text. The uppercase characters present proportions similar to those of classical Roman capitals.

Font Family

The family was originally cast in Light, Medium, Bold, and Bold Oblique fonts in 1928. Light Oblique, Medium Oblique, Demibold, and Demibold Oblique fonts were later released in 1930. Book font was released in 1932. Book Oblique font was released in 1939. Extra Bold font was designed by Edwin W. Shaar in 1952. Extra Bold Italic font was designed in 1955 by Edwin W. Shaar and Tommy Thompson.


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