Whats the story of "future"-Fonts like for example "FF Qtype" or "Space Colony"?

Richard_III's picture

Hi everybody,

for my opinion there are masses of these fonts in use. Especially for Logo. Can anyone explain, why its so "zeitgeisty" to use these "futuristic" fonts? And what about the history? Its all from the beginning of computer technology?

Thanks!

quadibloc's picture

Well, we live in an age where technology has produced lots of fun and useful things, like radios, televisions, ball-point pens, nylon stockings, communications satellites, non-stick frying pans, and, last but not least, personal computers and even smartphones.

So, technology being seen as virtuous, advertisers seek to associate their products with this beloved source of boons.

Albert Jan Pool's picture

Typefaces like FF QType were already designed in the Dessau Bauhaus, during De Stijl period etc. so their history starts clearly before computers were en vogue.

Richard_III's picture

Hi, Im not a Font-Expert, its interesting to look at Bauhaus Fonts and compare it with this "futuristic" Fonts.

Theunis de Jong's picture

"Futura", the canonical 'futuristic font', was designed "in the summer of 1924" (http://people.ku.edu/~delange/paulrenner.html).

From that article:

... it became a cornerstone of the “New Typography” classified as Geometrical Modernism, form follows function became the key words and careful reasoning constrained all the character shapes to their utmost functional simplicity.

So apparently 'simplicity' is linked to 'futuristic'. Looking at FF QType, its design reminds me of 1970s computer monitors: straight lines (or only very subtly curved), with round corners. Could that be the subliminal link?

"Space Colony" appears built with simple primitives, in an almost pixel-like fashion. Early 1960s futuristic fonts such as ITC's Countdown (1965) show similar characteristics.

Now high-res screens have become available we might next see a backlash to classic serifed fonts -- just because it is possible :-)

Times New Roman Empire's picture

http://astroprofspage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/800px-nasa_worm_logo.png

Certain important logos help set the tone! Conceptually, unbroken curves suggest aerodymanics and speed, which go hand-in-hand with "the future." which make them a perennial favorite for that purpose.

Fonts more closely with specific technologies often look dated - the opposite of futuristic - after several years. I don't think anyone would call this: http://www.fonts.com/font/monotype/computer futuristic, but at one time it certainly seemed that way.

quadibloc's picture

When I think of "futuristic fonts", this is the first one I think of:

http://www.identifont.com/show?374

but many people think that we should abandon using it... perhaps "in the name of love".

JamesM's picture

Many futuristic fonts — especially in movies — are rather gimmicky, designed to look cool and different, but are unlikely to actually be used much in the future. One exception that comes to mind is 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which Kubrick resisted the urge to use "futuristic" fonts.

quadibloc's picture

Not completely. The numbers 1, 2, 3, 4... which label the steps in the instructions are in a (somewhat) "futuristic" typeface; Microgramma, I believe.

As for the rest, the typeface is sans-serif, in fact, a geometric sans-serif (Futura!) so, while the typeface is conventional, it still avoids being too traditional.

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