Grotesque text typefaces, alternatives to Akkurat

benski's picture

Hey all,

I'm currently in the process of creating a brand and have become quite fond of Sansa. While this takes care of the branding device, I would like to investigate some nice body fonts that can go along with the identity.

I've been looking at Akkurat, but don't really believe that is available to me at this time, so I would like some recommendations up that same avenue (although I would like to avoid Helvetica/Akzidenz Grotesk as I want to instill a sense of originality - even if I'm the only one who notices it). Any gems out there?

Thanks in advance,

Reed Reibstein's picture

In the grotesque vein: FF Bau, National, and Neutral.

Stephen Coles's picture

Great suggestions, Reed. I would also consider Galaxie Polaris, Chalet Book, and Paralucent and have a look at my list of other Helvetica alternatives.

Stefan H's picture

Hi Ben!

Sophisto or Stalemate both have a bit of character, but all the same formal enough to be part of a brand identity.

Have a look at;

pattyfab's picture

Wow, Maquette is nearly identical to H&FJ's Gotham - ever so slightly more condensed and with a double-storey a.

Gary Long's picture

I love how completely bald-faced Stefan H is in his attempts to create interest in his fonts:

He's got some good fonts: I'd certainly be happy for him to point out something in his portfolio that might suit a project I was working on. I don't see him pop up often in the forums with design advice; I'd love to see him share some of his considerable expertise.

Miss Tiffany's picture

James, there's nothing wrong with a little self-promotion. Don't be a hater.

NewGuy's picture

If there's nothing wrong with a little self-promotion, what is the thought on a LOT of self-promotion?

Miss Tiffany's picture

I guess that would depend on what constitutes "a lot".

clauses's picture

If there’s nothing wrong with a little self-promotion, what is the thought on a LOT of self-promotion?
That depends on the wares; if the wares are good I don't mind.

Stephen Coles's picture

> Maquette is nearly identical to H&FJ’s Gotham

They do share a lot, but look closer, starting with the proportions and x-height. And here's Proxima Nova (which preceded Gotham) as another option.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Come on, James, Stefan always is on-topic. I have no problems with getting good suggestions. You could pick on others, too – why shouldn’t Dan advocate Linotype fonts or Stewf such distributed by Fontshop? They know them very well, and they know they’re good.

Stefan H's picture


I can assure you I don't have a "generator" for making my suggestions. They are "hand made" for each post. I just try to keep it short instead of putting loads of "bla bla" about my own typefaces. It's just so much about different taste and t's much quicker and easier for people judging themselves. I agree it's a sort of low budget "guerilla advertising", but as an independent type designer, you to make some noise... I'm just surprised that it haven't been used by many more ;-)


I wish I could spend more time sharing ideas and input on design topics etc. I've actually been thinking of cloning myself, but my wife tells me one is perfectly enough... and god forbid I might start double-posting!


NewGuy's picture

Stefan, my objection to your guerilla advertising is two-fold. First, it is embarrassingly desperate. Are your sales so slow that your advertising plan is to reach the few hundred visitors of this website? Second, it is annoying. You are the Jehovah's Witness of the type world, knocking on doors with your sales pitch. (And I like some of your work!)

It's not just you, either. It has come up that Stephen Coles is employed by FontShop, and they seem to pay him to suggest fonts available from them on this site. If he just posted "I work for FontShop. Here are some fonts we sell which you might be interested in." It would be like the nice shirt and tie which Jehovah's Witnesses wear, which allow you to spot them before you open the door.

clauses's picture

People ask a question about type, on a type BBS filled with type designers and vendors. They get qualified information from these type people. That might be advertising, but foremost it is information.

Florian Hardwig's picture

‘advertere’ is ‘to pay attention’

Stephen Coles's picture

James -- FontShop sees very few sales from Typophile traffic. I point to fonts at our site because I know the library well and have scripts which ease searching and linking. I think you'll find that the fonts in my posts are not limited to FS.

But that's beside the point. If you are that annoyed by people recommending fonts for which they might have a financial interest, then I submit that Typophile is probably not for you. If the suggestions were superfluous and unhelpful, I could see your complaint, but your metaphor is flawed: Jehovah's Witnesses offer unsolicited advice.

NewGuy's picture

From the original post:
"I’ve been looking at Akkurat, but don’t really believe that is available to me at this time, so I would like some recommendations up that same avenue (although I would like to avoid Helvetica/Akzidenz Grotesk as I want to instill a sense of originality - even if I’m the only one who notices it). Any gems out there?"

The suggestions posted by Auricfuzz and Stephen Coles are helpfully Helvetica/AG-like. (And my apologies to Mr Coles. I see that he has linked to non-FontShop fonts.)

However, take a look at Stalemate and Sophisto. If those are anything like Akkurat, Helvetica, or AG, I will eat my own hat.

Stefan H's picture


Too bad you get so annoyed by my "harmless" posts. In fact I'm surprised they would stir up anything to begin with? You are the first to say so. I might not be on target at all times, but many here have found my "recommendations" sometimes useful for other projects or just happy to discover some new faces in the "ocean". Comparing me with Jehovah’s Witness is to me hilarious. When I was young,,, they sometimes came knocking on my door, typically early on a Sunday morning! I have "scared" them away twice showing them my hammer of Thor, saying something about I'm NOT Christian! ;-)

As for living on type, I'm doing pretty well. I still do logotypes, graphic identities, graphic design for Greenpeace, but mostly because I still love doing it and it's a good way of mixing both type and design. But I'm almost independent from just royalties and custom typefaces.

Regarding Stephen Coles, I find it very low to accuse him for being a salesman for FS! Yes he works for them and "EVERYONE" here knows it, but he's passionate about type and his knowledge is without any doubt! The Typosphere would be dull without him! I feel honoured to have become his friend over the years.


NewGuy's picture

Customer: "I'm looking for a bowler hat."

Salesperson: "Here's a nice pair of Wellington boots."

Customer: "Ummm. I'm actually looking for a bowler hat."

Salesperson: "Perhaps you would be interested in Stalemate or Sophisto."

Customer: "Those are post-modern sans serif fonts. I just want a bowler hat."

Etc. Etc.

Beyond the Jehovah's Witness-style salesmanship, my objection lies in the fact that Stefan H suggests his fonts when they are entirely unlike what the person is looking for. Stefan does not deny that he is not on target at all times; maybe he could think a little bit before posting. If he signs up with FontShop to have them distribute his fonts, Stephen Coles will do it for him!

Stephen Coles's picture

NewGuy: Blah.

Typophile: Huh?

NewGuy: Blah blah blah, blah blahhh!

Typophile: Naw.

NewGuy: Blah.

Stephen Coles's picture

Actually, your dialogue was fairly amusing, however fictional.

Sorry we hiijacked your topic, Ben. I hope you're finding what you need.

Nick Shinn's picture

If you're going to recommend fonts, perhaps you should declare your financial interest in a signature to the post, if it's not apparent from your username.

Like many contributors to Typophile, Stephen wears several typo hats (eg Typographica and TypeCon), so his posts on various issues here are not necessarily *glyph pushing* (as he terms it) for FontShop.

I recommend Brown, which is (so far) my take on the grotesque genre.

NewGuy's picture

It's a Platonic dialogue in the style of Laurel and Hardy...

I applaud Nick Shinn's transparency. And his recommendation of a grotesque which is actually a relevant suggestion. Bravo!

(See, I'm not a total prick!)

paul d hunt's picture

If you’re going to recommend fonts, perhaps you should declare your financial interest in a signature to the post, if it’s not apparent from your username.

i find it fairly simple to understand why stephen and stefan respond the way do in these types of threads, but i think i'd prefer an explanation as to why you're spewing so much venom - that's the one i can't quite figure out...

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Stephan H> Your little story of how you shooed Jehovah’s Witness from your door is incompatible with "LOVE, PEACE & UNDERSTANDING!" at the bottom of your post.

NewGuy, James> Jehovah’s Witness are not salesman because nothing is ever for sale. You really need think more about what you say here. You're not just trolling but more seriously your spreading disrespect, prejudice, and intolerance towards people you really no nothing about. James, there is too much ugliness in your posts. You need to stay off typophile for a while or not come back.

Mike Diaz

dezcom's picture

Why don't ya take a walk up High Street and find a nice little joint to have a few beers and chill, New Guy? You might feel better about things later.


Nick Shinn's picture

Better still, smoke the joint. :-)

muzzer's picture

for the love of the lord above yourall acting like a bunch of yapping dingos. newguy is spot on about the Rhino always chrging in and spamming his fonts, when he hardly helps in other threads. it's not 'guerilla advertising' at all just shameless promo!!

Chopper Reid says "Harden the **** up".

NewGuy's picture

Thank goodness for muzzer! I thought I was picking fights with windmills!

I just find it hard to take any of these threads seriously when they're polluted with rampant advertising. Maybe there could be a new section, like Font ID, which keeps the self-serving suggestions off on their own.

Chris Keegan's picture

Why a grotesque sans for body copy? Just curious.

Maquette looks nice but no italics. Won't work for body copy.

Chris Keegan's picture

I would look at some of the other faces by ourtype. I would think you would find some good compliments to Sansa, and, being from the same foundry, they might work better together.

Quincunx's picture

I agree with Chris, for example have a look at Fresco Sans on OurType.
In my opinion an excellent typeface, suitable even for text.

Stephen Coles's picture

OurType's underrated Parry Grotesque might be the thing, though it's a little more old school. I would give you a non-FontShop link, but is built in flash and has no linkable pages.

Nick Shinn's picture

Maybe there could be a new section...

Not really necessary, as these threads usually begin "Alternative/similar to..." or "Compliment for..."

Stefan H's picture

Super Ultra Fabulous,
I wasn't rude to these guys, I made it in a rather ironic and humorous way... But they do work early hours! Waking up people like 9 am on a Sunday morning might not be the optimal sales situation :-)

James & Muzzer
Obviously I'm acting provocative towards you, so herby I promise not to spit out my type suggestions unless they are really ON TRAGET.

Actually all my typefaces sold by Psy/Ops and Fountain are also sold through FontShop, so beware Stephen might suggest some of mine anyhow!?


Goran Soderstrom's picture

New Guy and Muzzer: Confess – you are just jealous. ;-)

And... for the record, I dont see nothing wrong in promoting your own fonts, especially when you are trying to make a living out of it. I like it when people are taking things in their own hands and promoting whatever they are doing. That is how the free world is functioning.

Florian Hardwig's picture

take a look at Stalemate and Sophisto. If those are anything like Akkurat, Helvetica, or AG, I will eat my own hat.

The OP said he’s looking for Grotesque text typefaces and likes to avoid Helvetica/Akzidenz Grotesk.

Stefan didn’t claim that his are yet some other Swiss modern grotesques, but, quite the contrary, clearly specified that they have a bit of character.

So, to me, they’re not entirely unlike what the person is looking for.
(Given the fact that most people won’t notice the difference between Helvetica and Univers)

It’s neither Wellington boots nor \/iάgra nor unsolicited proselytization, you know. Just a link. You don’t have to follow it.

And before this thread becomes totally off-topic, I’ll add some more suggestions:
PTL Maurea
Axiom GST

They’re not like Helvetica or Akkurat? Exactly. They’re grotesque text typefaces.

magnus_rakeng's picture

It's been mentioned but I think National is spot on. But then again I'm a part of Village so I guess I should keep it for myself.

By the way, I am always rude to the Jehova's Witness

NewGuy's picture

I'm being pig-headed about this, and Florian Hardwig is being pig-headed about this. The difference is: I'm right.

The original post clearly asked for suggestions for a grotesque text alternative to Akkurat, which is not Helvetica/A.G.

Maurea, Zeppelin, and Axiom are alternatives to Frutiger, Interstate, and Frankling Gothic, respectively.

Here's another of my Platonic dialogues for my fans:

Benski: "I’ve been looking at Akkurat, but don’t really believe that is available to me at this time, so I would like some recommendations up that same avenue (although I would like to avoid Helvetica/Akzidenz Grotesk as I want to instill a sense of originality - even if I’m the only one who notices it). Any gems out there?"

Stefan H: "I don't have anything like that in my collection, so I'll just keep quiet."

Benski: "I've got another project where I've been using Klavika, but am not sure I like it. Can anyone suggest some replacements?"

Stefan H: "Perhaps you might like Stalemate or Sophisto."

See how that works?

David Sudweeks's picture

the nice shirt and tie which Jehovah’s Witnesses wear
Let's not forget the Mormons now; (which there are a fair share of in here I've noticed).
Also, I recommend Mario Feliciano's Flama and Jose Feliciano's cover of Light My Fire.

Florian Hardwig's picture

The difference is: I’m right.

The difference is: Now I made some suggestions for Ben, while you’re just complaining, still.
And don’t you come up with Nimbus. ;°)

Pig-headed F.

Chris Keegan's picture

New Guy I don't think you're in any position to be critiquing what people do or do not post here. Why don't you contribute something useful, like a recommendation for Ben instead of stirring up trouble. Life is too short, do something helpful.

Chris Keegan's picture

I second the recommendation for Flama. Ben, have you been frightened away?

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Let's not forget Blacks, Muslims, Jews, Gays, etc. Let's use them all to make our arguments because tolerance is just when your face-to-face. You can't see me, so I can say what ever I like- right?

It's just Typophile.

Stephen Coles's picture

Florian - That Salden stuff looks interesting. Pity that the samples are so tiny. Am I missing a big image or PDF somewhere?

benski's picture

Hey all, thanks for the replies. Didn't know this post would spark such controversy!

For the initial proposal I'm sticking with Akzidenz Grotesk, as I didn't realise OurType's EULA didn't allow outlining (I am aware this is common, silly me didn't check) so I have to make arrangements with my printer.

I do however like the suggestion of using typefaces within OurType's library, I will follow that up and try to squeeze a bit more budget out of the client.

Although... Flama is very nice indeed (thanks David, Chris). I'm still a bit new to this, so would anyone be able to tell me if purchasing this allows me to outline?

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