Designed by Paul Renner in 1927, Futura is the classic example of a geometric sans serif type. Its original concept was based on the Bauhaus design philosophy that form follows function. Futura uses basic geometric proportions with no weight stresses, serifs, or frills, with long ascenders and descenders that give it more elegance than most sans serif typefaces.
Twentieth Century was Lanston Monotypes answer to Futura. In fact Saul Hess’s redrawing of Futura is so close that this new digital revival includes alternates of the long lost original letterforms originally designed by Paul Renner for Futura, but were left out of the released version that has become so popular. 20th Century is a modern sans serif with apparent geometry yet still a certain warmth in its design.
Josef Albers drew a stencil sanserif form at the Bauhaus in 1923 (published in 1926); Paul Renner and the Bauer design office made a similar design into a typeface in 1929, and rather confusingly included it in the Futura series. Many websites erroneously attribute the stencil design to Josef Albers, but there is no evidence that the two met or collaborated on Futura Black. In 1929 Josef Albers and Jan Tschichold corresponded on the “Transito” typeface (another very similar stencil typeface, while Paul Renner was working with Jan Tschichold.
Here’s another offering from the Baltimore Type Foundry, originally called Airport Tourist, which was obviously influenced by Paul Renner’s Futura Display, designed in 1932 for Bauersche Gießerei.
This version features tight sidebearings and aggressive kerning, so your headlines will pack a punch.
Futura does give a restful, almost bland impression, which accords with Renner’s objectives. Futura seems classical, not only due to the form of its capitals, but also to the open, wide forms of the geometrical small letters. The typeface relies on notions of classical, yet contemporary form — harmony and evenness of texture.
Tasse can be seen as a straight-sided Futura, a design useful wherever Futura and its derivatives might apply.
Developed from Topic, also known as Steile Futura, it is a letterform that Paul Renner himself explored in the mid nineteen-fifties.
The family tree of this friendly face runs deep. Its primary inspiration is Twentieth Century, designed by Saul Hess as a monoline version of Paul Renner’s Futura.
The design was reinterpreted by Herb Lubalin as Avant Garde in the 1970s.