Designed by Bernd Möllenstädt, the Formata® font family is one of the most widely used sans serifs in the world. Part of the humanistic lineale subgroup of sans serifs, the Formata font family incorporates old style figures and a wide range of weights.
Möllenstädt conceived of the typeface in 1988 while working at the Berthold foundry as the head of its type design department. By that time, he had already been working at Berthold for 20+ years under the guidance of Gunther Gerhard Lange.
Formata was Möllenstädt’s first complete typeface and took 4 years to design, develop and finalize. It is a sans serif with an unexpected curvilinear form, placing it firmly in the humanist group of sans serifs. The character spacing is wide and it has a bold, sturdy look.
Berthold eventually licensed Formata to Adobe. Adobe has marketed the font as part of their Adobe Type Library and touts its multiple business applications, including its ability to work as both long form text and headers, and for fax and memos due to the space between the characters.
In recent years, Möllenstädt has added small caps and fractions to the family. He took over Lange’s type directorship upon Lange’s retirement from Berthold in 1990.
Formata is far less linear and severe than many other popular sans serifs. When viewed in larger point sizes, it becomes clear that lines that appear straight in smaller points are actually curvilinear.
Formata works well as both body and display type – it has distinct characteristics at smaller and larger point sizes and demonstrates a lot of flexibility and range. It is very popular as a corporate typeface and is used for corporate branding at Postbank, Allianz, and Mosaic, one of the world’s largest agricultural firms.