Contrary to popular thinking, the Futura® typeface was neither conceived at Germany’s Bauhaus nor decreed as the quintessence of the design school’s teaching.Paul Renner, Futura’s designer, had no Bauhaus affiliation, although his original sketches embodied the ideologies of the Bauhaus movement. His work was translated into fonts of metal type by The Bauer Type Foundry of Frankfurt, which made considerable changes to his Futura. The end result was a melding of Renner’s philosophy with proven typeface design precepts.
While the forms of Futura’s capital letters can be traced back to ancient Greek lapidary letters, Renner’s sketches for the lower case were quirky, forced and at times barely recognizable as letters. The Bauer production department reinterpreted his design, removing many of the odd shapes while maintaining the basic notion of letters reflecting simple geometric shapes. The ascenders were redrawn taller than the capitals, and character widths were adjusted to reflect traditional 16th century proportions. Even the lowercase ‘t’ was redrawn as an asymmetrical design – like many old style typefaces.
Other typefaces predate Futura’s 1927 release date, but Renner’s is generally credited as the most influential in stimulating the development of typefaces based on geometric forms. This is due primarily to the immediate and overwhelming success of the family. Renner also made many presentations and lectures about his new design prior to its release, and some believe that other designers and type foundries took his concept and turned it into fonts of type prior to the Bauer release of Futura.
Futura is an exceptionally versatile typeface. Its bold and condensed variants are especially powerful display designs. Futura is also a good choice for space-sensitive environments. Its simple letterforms allow it to be set at surprisingly small sizes with little drop in legibility levels. Futura also works well for short blocks of text copy, captions and pull-quotes.