By Ashlyn Harrop
When thinking of the vast amount of typefaces that have been produced over the last century, we often first recall the ones that have remained timeless even amidst the different design movements. For many designers and people alike, Futura, a sans serif typeface, is first on the list when choosing a typeface for a design.
The most common characteristics of Futura include it’s low crossbar, pointed apex, ascenders that rise above the ascender line, mono-weight strokes, crossbars that have an extended width, circular counter-space, center of the letters that extend to the baseline, and terminals that cut-off. Futura has remained popular over the past century because of it’s modern look and readability.
Created by German type designer, Paul Renner, in 1924, Futura was the first typeface of its time to combine geometric and old style figures into one face. This was a typographic style many type designers was striving to achieve during this time. Although Renner didn’t attend the Bauhaus School of Design like many other prominent designers, Futura was greatly inspired by the modern design style of the Bauhaus movement.
After a few years of meticulously altering the letterforms of this typeface, Renner commissioned the Bauer type foundry in 1927. The face was commercially released in light, regular, and bold weights. It wasn’t until 1930 that the type family grew to include semi-bold, bold condensed, light oblique, and regular oblique, with a book weight added in 1932. As of current, the Futura family now includes over 20 faces in total.
Interestingly enough, the face was originally intended only to be used for the body text in books. Today was see Futura highly used in advertising. In 1969, Futura was chosen as the typeface to be on the commemorative plaque that was left on the moon by the astronauts of Apollo 11. Since then, Futura has been most popularly connected to brands such as Volkswagen, Ikea, Dominos Pizza, Absolut Vodka, Louis Vuitton, Best Buy, Red Bull, Union Pacific, Costco, and films by Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick.