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Futura: Forrest L. Norvell

Forrest L. Norvell's comments on Paul Renner's Futura and its many reincarnations. He writes: Futura is one of those typefaces so taken for granted that it perpetually rides on the knife-edge of backlash. Like Helvetica and Univers, it's a versatile sans serif typeface that comes in a variety of widths and weights and comprises a more or less freestanding system for graphic designers who are (still) wedded to the grid. It's also a strongly geometrical, warm typeface, and is one I've used constantly since long before I knew anything about type.

I summarize:

  • Adobe: the basic digital version, that can be found in many software bundles such as ATM. For those who want the boldly modernist version of Futura as Paul Renner originally envisioned it.
  • The Foundry released Architype Renner and Architype Renner Bold.
  • Neufville: the most elegant version of the modern Futura, Neufville has the complete range of Futuras, complete with small capitals and the old-style figures that were dropped from the original metal issue of the type.
  • Avenir by Adrian Frutiger: Norvell says that it splits the difference between Futura and Frutiger's own conception of geometric sans serif. I personally don't think it's as pretty as Futura.
  • Avenir Next, Linotype's 97-weight monstrosity that attempts to match the systematic variety of Univers and Helvetica with the humanist / geometric feel of Futura.

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Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html