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By Linotype

The Folio™ font family is a sans serif typeface created in 1957 by Konrad Bauer and Walter Baum for the Bauer Type Foundry in Frankfurt, Germany. Its design was based heavily on earlier sans serif fonts, namely the Akzindenz-Grotesk™ font family released by the Berthold Type Foundry in 1896.

When Akzindenz-Grotesk, designed by Günter Gerhard Lange, was released by the Berthold Type Foundry in 1896, it quickly became used in a variety of mediums, going on to become the first popular sans serif typefaces. Its design is theorized to have been based on the Didot or Walbaum fonts as when the serifs of these earlier typefaces are removed, similar metrics present themselves.

In the nineteen fifties, a series of new fonts – known as neo-grotesque – began to be designed, based on the earlier nineteenth century grotesque (or grotesk) faces. Adrian Frutiger’s various fonts (including the Univers™ font family) and the 1960 Helvetica™ font family by Max Miedinger (originally released as Neue Haas Grotesk in 1957) all drew inspiration from Akzindenz-Grotesk.

It has been said, however, that Folio is perhaps the most strikingly similar font face to Akzindenz-Grotesk. Though there are differences, there are also comparisons to be made, particularly between letters such as the uppercase “G,” as well as the overall X height of both typefaces.

When Folio was introduced into the United States, it experienced success despite its formidable typographic rivals. A cold press version was released by Hell AG and later, in 1963, the font was given a Bold Condensed width and an Extra Bold weight, rendering it one of the most diverse typefaces of its time.

Linotype: Folio Font Family

Because of its versatility and expanded font set, Folio has found constant employment as a newspaper display face. Its legibility in even very small font sizes has proven a very useful asset in both digital and print design, particularly in advertising.

The Turkish sea-protection charity Turmepa used the font in an advertising campaign urging citizens to help protect the oceans. Additionally, Folio’s ancestor, Akzindenz-Grotesk is the official typeface (along with the Georgia™ font family) of the Red Cross and all publications made are set in either font.

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Folio – and other fonts associated with the Bauer Type Foundry – were almost never produced by Bauer because of an assumption by the Bauer company administration that type founding (and not typesetting) would become an automated process. The results of this blunder became apparent when, at the end of the nineteenth century, the firm found itself almost bankrupt. Georg Hartmann subsequently took over the company and ensured its survival. After several takeovers (including one by the Frankfurt based Flinsch foundry in 1916), all activities were transferred to a former subsidiary company, Fundición Tipográfica Neufville (based in Barcelona), which still owns the rights to many font faces at this time.