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. 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
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
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
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.
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 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
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
kursiv, 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
in German means "upright" or "steep").
The font family released by Bauer consist of mager (light),
halbfett (medium), fett (bold), kursiv halbfett (medium italic),
and kursiv 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
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
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
Neufville Digital issued Futura, Futura Black, Futura Condensed,
and Futura Display (Futura Schlagzeile) under the Futura ND
The ParaType fonts added Cyrillic characters. They were developed
at ParaType (ParaGraph) in 1995 by Vladimir Yefimov. They came in
only Light, Book, Medium, Demi weights.
Futuris is a redesign at ParaType (ParaGraph) in 1991 by Vladimir
Yefimov that includes Cyrillic characters. Condensed styles were
added by in 1993 by Vladimir Yefimov and Alexander Tarbeev. It is
available in Light, Medium, Bold, Black (without oblique) weights,
while condensed fonts were made in Bold, Extra Bold, all without
obliques. Also available are Cameo Extra Bold (black in reverse),
Shadow Light, Shadow Extra Bold (black with shadow), Volume
This version is based on the previous ParaType design by Vladimir
Yefimov, but expanded to include 7 weights, with Book, Medium,
Bold, Extra Bold weights for condensed fonts. Additional Cyrillic
styles were developed in 2007 by Isabella Chaeva.
This version is based on the Futura Black, but designed at the
Polygraphmash type design bureau in 1987 by Elvira Slysh.
Bukra is an Arabic variant designed by Pascal Zoghbi. It consists of Bukra
Extra Bold, which was used as an Arabic display typeface for
Mall in Dubai as a complement for Futura Extra
The design was based on Kufi script, but using
Influence on other typefaces
The success of Futura coincided with the creation of many new
geometric sans-serif faces by competing foundries including
, Metro, Vogue, Erbar and
, and Century Gothic
others. Some were near identical copies as in Spartan and Vogue,
but others, were uniquely different including Nobel
Typeface designer Adrian Frutiger
acknowledges Futura as one of his inspirations for his 1988
. More recently
Futura has been the basis of Ikea Sans and Opel Sans, fonts
designed (for Ikea
, respectively) by Robin
is a revival of Steile Futura.
is inspired by Futura.
is based on
The 2000 typeface Gotham
similarly geometric and based on 1920s signage.
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. 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.
- The Bauhaus Designer Paul Renner
- The best Futura money can buy.
- Steile Futura
- Hausschrift-Liste Unternehmen-zu-Schrift -
- Burke, Christopher, Paul Renner: the art of
typography. London: Hyphen Press, 1998. ISBN
- Jaspert, Berry and Johnson. Encyclopaedia of Type
Faces. Cassell Paperback, London; 2001. ISBN
- 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.
- Haley, Allen. Type: Hot Designers Make Cool Fonts.
Rockport Publishers Inc, Gloucester; 1998. ISBN 1-56496-317-9