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Futura

The torch-lit procession started moving at 10 p.m. precisely, in the pouring rain. To the sound of a German SA brass band, students, professors and SA and SS units marched through the Brandenburg Gate, escorted by mounted police. They were heading towards the Opernplatz (now called Bebelplatz), where earlier that day a great bonfire had been prepared. A few minutes later, the “corrosive” books of Heinrich Heine, Erich Kästner, Karl Marx, Kurt Tucholsky and many others would be “consigned to the fire”.


The best Renner biography, “The Art of Typography” (1998), was written by FontFont designer Chris Burke.

The polemic paper entitled “Cultural Bolshevism?” did not appear on the “brown list” of 10 May 1933. This passionate defence of modernity in architecture and the visual arts, written by Paul Renner, had been published six months earlier by Eugen Rentsch in Zurich. Even in 1932, the author had no longer been able to find a publisher in his native country. The book’s release provoked agitation against the artist in the Völkischer Beobachter, as was to be expected, and in April 1933, Renner was arrested and dismissed from his position as director of the Master School for Printers in Munich. He fled to Switzerland one month later.

Fortunately, Paul Renner had released his successful Futura font family in 1927. The copyright royalties from this provided him with a reliable income during the Nazi era.


Reproduction of the Bauer Futura type sample using the Futura OpenType from Elsner + Flake

Futura, the first drafts of which date back to 1924, was greatly inspired by the Bauhaus. Renner regarded the typeface as an overcoming of the “irreconcilability of Roman capitals and the Latin lower case characters which originate in handwritten Carolingian minuscule”. His Futura was the prototype of a geometric sans-serif Linear-Antiqua.

Although Renner retained unusual (anti-cursive) forms for a, g, n, m and r in the first publication of the font, Futura achieved its great success without these characters. On the first sample sheet by the Bauer foundry in 1927 they were promoted as special characters, but the second in 1928 no longer even included them. Elsner + Flake’s recently released OpenType version of Futura includes Renner’s original range of characters.


The Volkswagen headline font is based on a Futura which was impressively reworked by MetaDesign in 1998
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Cynthia am: 20. Sep 2012
I love this font! The company I work for uses it for all official print and documents. :)
Catbus am: 26. Dec 2012
Futura is being used to death in advertising and business signage right now, at least in Chicago. If Helvetica screams "1980s," a few decades from now, Futura is going to scream "2010s." (Which is pretty amazing, since not too long ago it still screamed "early 1960s.")




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