Designed in early 1950s as a modern interpretation of sans serif letterforms, the Eurostile® typeface is still an iconic, contemporary design. First drawn as a cap-only face by Alessandro Butti, with help from his young assistant, Aldo Novarese for the Nebiolo type foundry, this all-cap (or titling) typeface became the Microgramma™ design.
Although intended for short lines of display copy, Microgramma was popular for the better part of 10 years before Novarese decided to add the missing lower case to the typeface. The completed design, renamed Eurostile, was introduced in 1962.
Microgramma and Eurostile were both released originally as fonts of handset metal type. Later they were interpreted as fonts for phototypesetting, dry transfer letterings and finally as digital fonts. In the spirit of design programs like the Neue Helvetica® and Frutiger® Next typeface families, Linotype took the basic Eurostile design, in 2008, and created the Eurostile Next typeface, a remarkably fresh and improved version of the family. The new rendition is the work of Akira Kobayashi, director of typeface design at Linotype.
Eurostile’s long-standing success is because it elegantly treads the fine line between being distinctive and versatile. Generally, the more distinctive a typeface design is, the less it can be used in a variety of applications. Not so with Eurostile. It is distinctive without being flamboyant. Translation: while it is not a replacement for the Helvetica® or Frutiger® designs, Eurostile is easy to use well and will stand out from the crowd of other sans serif typefaces. Eurostile language character sets are available in Western and Eastern European languages, in addition to Turkish, Baltic, Romanian, Cyrillic and Greek.
The most obvious attribute of Eurostile, aside from its lack of serifs, is that it is square in design. Many of the letters look as if they got their start by being traced around an old television picture tube. There is also a symmetry and implied mathematical quality to the design that is found in few other faces outside the likes of the Avenir®, Avant Garde Gothic® and Harmonia Sans™ typefaces.
Many individual letters distinguish Eurostile, but some of the more obvious are the ‘Ks’ which have diagonals that do not touch the vertical stroke, and the lowercase ‘t’ which has a crossbar that is long on the right and a long tail that curves all the way back to vertical. The ‘A,’ ‘M,’ ‘N,’ ‘V’ and ‘W’ all have flat apexes and the ‘Q’ has the distinction of having the tail longer on the inside of the character than on the outside.
Eurostile’s lowercase ‘a’ is the traditional two-storied design found in 19th century grotesques and most roman types; the ‘f’ crossbar mimics that of the ‘t,’ and the ‘g’ is a single-storied design, like that found in the Frutiger or ITC Franklin™ typefaces.
Microsoft included Eurostile in its Microsoft Office® suite of software products. The typeface has also appeared in a number of video games and is used by many sports channels for displaying information.
Eurostile has been widely used by the French Connection company in its marketing campaigns and as part of clothing design. Global companies that use Eurostile include Toshiba and Diadora. The British police commonly use Eurostile on their vehicles.
The music industry has also used this font on album artwork from U2, Eminem and Westlife among others, with some bands using the typeface in their official logo.