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The designers wanted a break from the past but it wasn’t until 1927 that a typeface was created that really expressed this, F U T U R A . It was the creation of Paul Renner, a german teacher, graphic designer, type designer, and author. Futura became the most popular and first geometric sans-serif typeface. Paul Renner believes the idea of purity behind it granted its success because in reality the font isn’t purely geometric and instead has many subtle features. The sans-serif was only a display font in the 19th century, so what happened in the 20th was that and it becoming a text-size for use in books as well. M E TA was one of the earliest sans-serifs designed as a digital type. It was released in 1991 by the type designer Erik Spickermann and is considered to be a neohumanist sans-serif that is both friendly and space-efficient. It is a narrow form, with a slight kink in the vertical stem of the lowercase and diagonal terminal. This more narrow than Helvetica typeface, became the Helvetica of the late 20th century since helvetica became overused.


Typography from the 19th to the 20th Century

Adrian Frutiger designed the earliest version of U N I V E R S in 1937 for the use on the Lumitype/Photonphotosetting machine. Univers is essentially a neo-grotesque with a humanist touch. Alongside the font he felt that it should have a system of numbers to name the weights and qualities of the font instead of relative words like “light” and “bold” that could change depending on the language. This became a milestone in design because it unified the system across borders. Universe still met resistance in Switzerland since the popular fonts at the time were Akzidenz Grotesk and Neue Hass Grotesk. After seeing a sign that Eric Gill had painted for a shop, Morison suggested that he make a geometric sans-serif to compete with others in and outside of Germany. This became G I L L S A N S , a typeface modeled on classic proportions. Gill Sans, however, wasn’t a geometric san-serif and is instead classified as a humanist sans-serif. In 1928, the first version was available as titling and a lowercase version wasn’t available until 1933.

Fonts of the 19th and 20th Century


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