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First-Grade Typesetters

Think back to the first time you were introduced to the alphabet. It may have been in school, at home with your parents, or somewhere entirely different all together. Remember that chart that was hanging over the chalkboard that you always used for reference?

That was your first experience with typesetting. And not just regular old typesetting: the first typeface you ever learned to write (or draw!) was Futura.

Of course, it isn’t exactly Futura, but you can see the resemblance. There’s a reason that it’s the first “font” you learn how to replicate. Futura was designed during the Bauhaus movement as the ultimate in simplicity, relying on basic geometric shapes to create the letterforms.

It’s no coincidence that Futura is often the right choice for logos or marketing campaigns. (I could have subtitled this “Ode to Futura” but I didn’t want to give it away too soon.) It’s a simple font, but it has such character. To quote a certain designer-friend o’ mine, “Futura is sometimes vanilla, but sometimes vanilla is just right.”

(Thanks to John Langdon for inspiring this rant.)


Simon Zirkunow said:

Futura is also overused by my fellow design students, who don’n want to write that much. It’s got very wide letters … but you knew that.
Many advertising campaigns use Futura, but I think that Volkswagen chose it for a different reason as their corporate font. In the Nazi time VW was the official »Reichswagen«, the Nazi-car. After the 2. WW they had to build up a new image. So they used Futura because it was banned during that time as it stood in contrast to the whole Nazi ideology.
(I’m from Germany and we’re a bit more concerned about these issues, you know …)

Posted on August 8, 2005 10:35 AM

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