URW++ is the successor of the company URW (Unternehmensberatung Rubow Weber — from the founders’ names), in Hamburg, Germany. Under the technical direction of Peter Karow, this company led the world in developing digital font technology. Its IKARUS suite of font digitization tools and file format standards handles fonts as bitmaps, as greyscale (anti-aliased bitmaps), as vector outlines, and as curved outlines. If a typeface exists on paper, then IKARUS is still the choice of many professionals. The program uses the unfashionable puck as input method.
URW Urban follows the trend of pattern fonts. Each character has been provided with an individual pattern created with a special stamp technique. To create a vivid typeface, there is a stylistic alternate for nearly every character. In this way the grotesque has a modern, unconventional look.
URW Grotesk was designed exclusively for URW by Prof. Hermann Zapf in 1985. At the same time, Zapf designed URW Antiqua to go with URW Grotesk. At that time, we were working with a large German publishing house (Axel Springer) on type design solutions to replace certain of their newspaper fonts. Test pages of large German newspapers (e.g. Bildzeitung) were printed with URW Grotesk and URW Antiqua font families. For reasons not disclosed to us, the project was dropped and Springer never used URW Grotesk and URW Antiqua for that purpose.