In typography, Futura is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed in 1927 by Paul Renner. It is based on geometric shapes that became representative of visual elements of the Bauhaus design style of 1919–1933. Commissioned by the Bauer Type Foundry, in reaction to Ludwig & Mayer’s seminal Erbar of 1922, Futura was commercially released in 1927.
The family was originally cast in Light, Medium, Bold, and Bold Oblique fonts in 1928.
The typeface is derived from simple geometric forms (near-perfect circles, triangles and squares) and is based on strokes of near-even weight, which are low in contrast. This is most visible in the almost perfectly round stroke of the o.. In designing Futura, Paul Renner avoided the decorative, eliminating non-essential elements. The lowercase has tall ascenders, which rise above the cap line. The uppercase characters present proportions similar to those of classical Roman capitals.
Futura’s success spawned a range of new geometric sans-serif typefaces from competing foundries, and remains one of the most used sans-serif types into the twenty-first century. Particularly during the 1950s it was used extensively by the publishing industry as a general purpose font. Futura remains an important typeface family and is used on a daily basis for print and digital purposes as both a headline and body font. The font is also used extensively in advertisements and logos, notably by IKEA (until 2010), Volkswagen, Royal Dutch Shell and HP in their print ads.