Futura : Back Story
Before they were trendy with lifestyle startups and Presidential campaigns, and even before they were popular with the avant garde, sans serifs were considered a “proletarian typeface family with no renowned predecessors,” relegated mainly to newspaper supplements and the Bible. That’s according to type designer Paul Renner, who in the 1920s was nonetheless beginning to rethink san serifs’ position as inferior to serifs and scripts. At the time, modernist artists, architects, and designers were busy shrugging off the weight of history with a new regard for the uniform, the rational, and the functional. In the summer of 1924, when Renner was commissioned to design “the typeface of our time,” those design motifs were, if not directly on his mind, certainly in the air. He set out to create a face that followed a “consistently unified, elementary language of form,” and with that, Futura was born.
As a sans serif, Futura is best paired with a serif. Over the years, it’s inspired many an offshoot; avoid pairing it with the ones that are near-identical, like Airport , Europe, and Sans Serif H91.