Futura (typeface)

Futura (typeface)

Infobox font
name = Futura

style = Sans-serif
classifications = Geometric Sans-Serif
releasedate = 1927
creator = Paul Renner

Edwin W. Shaar (Extra Bold, Extra Bold Italic)

Tommy Thompson (Extra Bold Italic)

foundry = Bauer Type Foundry
Neufville Digital

Futura is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed between 1924 and 1926 by Paul Renner. It is based on geometric shapes that became representative visual elements of the Bauhaus design style of 1919–1933. [ [http://www.creativepro.com/article/the-bauhaus-designer-paul-renner The Bauhaus Designer Paul Renner] ] Commissioned by the Bauer type foundry, Futura was commercially released in 1927.

The family was originally published 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.

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. Renner's initial design included several geometrically constructed alternative characters and ranging (old-style) figures, which can be found in the typeface Architype Renner.

Futura has an appearance of efficiency and forwardness. The typeface is derived from simple geometric forms (near-perfect circles, triangles and squares) and is based on strokes of near-even weight, which are low in contrast. (This is most visible in the almost perfectly round stroke of the o, but the shape is actually slightly ovoid.) In designing Futura, Renner avoided the decorative, eliminating non-essential elements. The lowercase has tall ascenders, which rise above the cap line. The uppercase characters present proportions similar to those of classical roman capitals.

Original Futura design also included small capitals and the old-style figures, which were dropped from the original metal issue of the type. The digital versions of these glyphs were first produced by Neufville Digital under the Futura ND family. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20060210114255/http://www.typomancy.org/2005/02/07/the-best-futura-money-can-buy/ The best Futura money can buy.] ]

Futura Black

Released in 1929, Futura Black is an alternate design that uses stencil letter forms.

Futura Display (Futura Schlagzeile)

Released in 1932, Futura Display uses more angular strokes, resulting in rectangular letter forms.

Futura Condensed

Futura Condensed is a condensed version of the original Futura font family. Bold and bold oblique fonts were released in 1930. Medium, medium oblique, extra bold, and extra bold oblique fonts were released in 1936. Light and light oblique fonts were released in 1950.

teile Futura

It was Paul Renner's attempt to create a typeface that would be closer to the nineteenth century sans serifs than to the geometric model. During the course of development, Renner developed several intermediate versions. Some of the early design could be found in the experimental font called Renner-Grotesk, which appeared as a trial type casting from the Stempel type foundry in 1936. Renner Kurziv, a true italic companion to the regular version, was made after Stempel had been taken over by Bauer in 1938.

The work on the type family continued in the 1940s, but Renner's poor health had slowed down the development. Renner started to work again on this project in 1951 under the name of Steile Futura ("Steile" in German means "upright" or "steep").

The font family released by Bauer consist of mager (light), halbfett (medium), fett (bold), Kurziv halbfett (medium italic), and Kurziv fett (bold italic). The font family was released in 1952-1953. It was sold in German, English, Spanish, and French markets as Steile Futura, Bauer Topic, Vox, Zénith respectively. [ [http://mitja-m.com/writings/steile_futura.htm Steile Futura] ]

The font family has rounder letters than Futura Display. For the first time, italic type features are incorporated in the italic fonts. The fonts incorporate handwriting features, especially in italic version.

Futura ND

This version is based on the original sources of the Bauersche Giesserei, which had passed its typefaces to its Barcelona branch, Fundición Tipográfica Bauer SL. Released in 1999 by Neufville Digital – a joint venture of Fundición Tipográfica Bauer SL and Visualogik Technology & Design b.v – it includes small capitals and the old-style figures that had not been made in metal types.

Neufville Digital issued Futura, Futura Black, Futura Condensed, and Futura Display (Futura Schlagzeile) under the Futura ND family.


Bukra is an Arabic variant designed by Pascal Zoghbi. It consists of Bukra Extra Bold, which was used as an Arabic display typeface for Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai as a complement for Futura Extra Bold. The design was based on Kufi script, but using shortened descenders.

Influence on other typefaces

The success of Futura coincided with the creation of many new geometric sans-serif faces by competing foundries including Kabel, Metro, Vogue, Erbar and Spartan, Twentieth Century, and Century Gothic among others. Some were near identical copies as in Spartan and Vogue, but others, were uniquely different including Nobel and Kabel.

Typeface designer Adrian Frutiger acknowledges Futura as one of his inspirations for his 1988 typeface Avenir. More recently Futura has been the basis of Ikea Sans and Opel Sans, fonts designed (for Ikea and Opel, respectively) by Robin Nicholas. [ [http://www.typografie.info/typowiki/index.php?title=Hausschrift-Liste_Unternehmen-zu-Schrift Hausschrift-Liste Unternehmen-zu-Schrift - Typografie.info TypoWiki ] ]

Tasse is a revival of Steile Futura.

Beteckna is inspired by Futura.


Futura's success spawned a range of new geometric sans-serif typefaces from competing foundries, and remains one of the most used sans-serif types into the twenty-first century. It is used prominently in the graphic identity of Union Pacific. The former Swiss airline Swissair also used Futura from the 1950s to the 1990s. Boeing commercial airplanes almost exclusively use a variation of Futura in their flightdeck labeling for both information decals and instrumentation. Futura remains an important typeface family and is used on a daily basis for print and digital purposes as both a headline and body font. Filmmaker Wes Anderson uses Futura extensively in his films, as did Stanley Kubrick. Futura was used on the commemorative plaque left on Earth's moon by Apollo 11 astronauts in July 1969 (see photo at right). American conceptual artist Barbara Kruger uses the typeface in much of her language based artwork.

The revival of the BBC series, "Doctor Who" uses Futura for its credits, as did the original series during the early 1970s.

In Italy, RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana and Ferrovie dello Stato use Futura as their corporate fonts.

Car maker Volkswagen uses in its graphic identity a version of Futura modified by Erik Spiekermann's design agency, SpiekermannPartners. It differs slightly from standard Futura; for example, the letter O is perfectly round so as to emulate a car tire. [ [http://pingmag.jp/2005/10/31/erik-spiekermann-typography-and-design-today/ Erik Spiekermann - typography and design today] —PingMag]

Wes Anderson's films "The Royal Tenenbaums", "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou", and "The Darjeeling Limited" use Futura in the title sequences, in promotional material, and within the films themselves.

The cover of the debut album by the band Vampire Weekend was set in Futura.

The Sci Fi Channel uses a variation on the font family for its on-air and print branding.

The television series "Futurama" uses the font heavily.

The Illinois Institute of Technology uses the font for its publicity campaign.

It is a corporate branding font for Hewlett-Packard, where it has been used in product packages and manuals since 2004.

The Reform Party of Canada which was Canada's second largest political party from 1997 to 2000, used a modified bold italicized version of Futura for its logo. The capital "M" used in the logo was altered from how it traditionally appears in the Futura typeface.

The font has also been used extensively in the fashion industry, as the logo typeface for companies such as French fashion conglomerate Louis Vuitton and British Luxury department store Harvey Nichols.


Further reading

*Jaspert, Berry and Johnson. "Encyclopaedia of Type Faces." Cassell Paperback, London; 2001. ISBN 1-84188-139-2
*Lawson, Alexander S., "Anatomy of a Typeface". Godine: 1990. ISBN 978-0879233334.
*Meggs, Philip. B and McKelvey, Roy. "Revival of the Fittest: Digital Versions of Classic Typefaces." RC Publications; 2002. ISBN 1-883915-08-2
*Haley, Allen. "Type: Hot Designers Make Cool Fonts." Rockport Publishers Inc, Gloucester; 1998. ISBN 1-56496-317-9

External links

* [http://typophile.com/wiki/futura Typowiki: Futura]
* [http://www.identifont.com/show?44N Identifont: Futura Black]
* [http://www.identifont.com/show?61W Identifont: Futura Display]
* [http://bertholdtypes.com/bq_library/090176000.html Berthold Fonts: Steile Futura - Berthold BQ version]
* [http://urwpp.de/cgi-bin1/dalcgi/source/fontliste0.htd?sprache=english&auswahl=-1&fontnummer=t040016t&1lpb-id=wdb4e38d1655c8244d9987dbeae12bccd5a861fbdec URW Topic]
* [http://bauertypes.com/bswebs.G3?log%3Apkid=2&log%3Acompany=22&log%3Acontract=1&log%3Aserviceid=1&xtd%3Alanguage=es&pkid=2&idcompany=22&idcontract=1&idservice=1&language=es&behaviour=PRODUCT&buscador=futura&menukeys=TYPES_BUSCADOR Bauertypes Futura ND]
*Neufville Digital Futura: [http://www.neufville.com/FontData/_Funset.htm Futura] , [http://www.neufville.com/FontData/_Funbset.htm Futura Black] , [http://www.neufville.com/FontData/_Funcset.htm Futura Condensed] , [http://www.neufville.com/FontData/_Fundset.htm Futura Display]
* [http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/neufville/futura-nd/ MyFonts: Futura ND]
* [http://www.29letters.com/new/files/fonts.php?type=fam&id=22 Bukra]

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