Junaid Chaudhary

Paul Renner & Futura

Paul Friedrich August Renner

The Designer and Typographer

Paul Friedrich August Renner was a book designer, teacher, and typographer. Like many designers and theorists contemporary to his time, Renner (1878-1954) started his career as an artist. After attending several academies and studying Greek and Latin for nine years, Renner married and settled in Munich during the very early 1900s. While in Munich and living as a painter, he enrolled at a school of applied art to study Graphik, a program of coursework that included drawing, illustrations, book decorations, and typography. Renner was greatly influenced in switching his career from painting to design by a meeting he attended in 1907 of artists, craftsmen, and industrialists who promoted the ideas of art and technology in the manufacture of everyday objects. Paul Renner was no longer satisfied with supplementing his income by designing leather book binding, instead he wanted to be a part of all aspects of a volume, including the layout and design of type. Taking his newly found passion for the relationship between form and function, Renner wrote a groundbreaking book called Typogrpahie als Kunst (Typography as Art) in 1922. Because he published the whole book in strict traditional layout and Gothic letter forms, it led him to question the readability and usefulness of Gothic or Black letter forms. Renner later denounced Gothic typefaces as “a nostalgic leftover, the displaced remains of an earlier age.” He also argued that in the interest of the German language and in hopes of looking for a better future, Gothic typefaces must be replaced with Roman typefaces. 

The Geometric Form

Futura is a sans-serif typeface that utilizes geometric forms to make itself appear extremely precise and harmonized. One of the most recognizable feature of this font is the sharp vertex seen on characters like capitol A and M. This recognizable feature slightly overshoots making the actual corner of the uppercase V and W slightly below the baseline and the corner of the uppercase A and M slightly above the cap-line. The width of the stems used in the uppercases and the lowercases is equal in all letter forms. This evenness and unity is further displayed in the line weight of the square and rounded-square forms. Letters such as capital B, P and R share the exact same bowl making them look like different variations of the same basic form. This concept is demonstrated again in the rounded lowercase characters like the lowercase c, g and q that, when aligned on top of each other, share the same geometric shape. The lowercase characters are so overly simplified that the b/d and p/q are the exact same form. 

Font Study

Create unique forms that mimic the visual form & guidelines established by Paul Renner during the development of Futura