Good body copy pairing for Futura headlines

bleusky's picture

Client uses Futura as "corporate font." Futura body text is a bear. Need alternative. Must be in synch with innovation theme.

Nick Shinn's picture

Futura = innovation ?
LOL.

Té Rowan's picture

Futura is an ever-forward-ever-onward type of face.

Nick Shinn's picture

I find it rather quaint.
Nonetheless, very few type designers have subsequently had the balls to be as ruthlessly reductive as Renner.
So no doubt that vision of the future sits well with corporate innovation.

Trevor Baum's picture

I agree with Nick, that Futura definitely does NOT look innovative. It's very evocative of a distinct time/place/aesthetic, which happens to be the late 1920's, not the late 2020's.

Té Rowan's picture

I think I need a beer. I'm actually agreeing with you two in a sense. Based on what I have seen of what big-corp calls 'innovative', putting that moniker on Futura would be both slanderous and offensive, IMAO.

Nick Shinn's picture

… evocative of … the late 1920's …

The 2001 poster is also evocative of c.1970 in the way that the face is set tight-but-not-touching.
So perhaps there is some new crazy-shit way to set Futura that screams CORPORATE INNOVATION 2011 BABY!!!

I nominate Contextual Alternates to mix up several weights in the same setting, in the manner of the Schwartz/Leming Local Gothic, or PFP's Anisette.

Nick Shinn's picture

Michelle, apologies for hijacking your post, and I did note that you put "corporate" in ironic quotes.

How about Beton?

It was the Bauer foundry's "Futura Slab Serif".

http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/urw/beton/t-demi/

It actually sets very nicely as running text, not overly slabby, due to some subtle details, and I've seen it used recently as a news text face, quite successfully.

It would also continue the back-to-the-future theme of Futura -- but only for those who know!
Lay folk would consider it quite contemporary and, uh, innovative, in the way that the squarish Eurostile and Bankers Gothic signify computer technology.

Queneau's picture

I think Futura is way more timeless than most typefaces, actually. Futura allcaps are some of the most beautiful letters I know. Of course the are typical for an era as well, but so is helvetica or baskerville or scala. I have seen books with body copy in futura done quite succesfully actually, but it needs a fine sense of proportion.

A Futura with optical sizes does seem like a great idea though, perheps with some alternates for letters like the lower case t. Then again you might also go for avenir, which is supposed to be a better futura.

As for a companion. Perhaps Silica or Museo Slab would work? Or a modern serif font like Charter? I would not go for another sans-serif.

ben_archer's picture

Futura body text is a bear.

Depends entirely on how you're setting it; some designers would seize on this limitation and turn it into a virtue. If you can't see your way to this, perhaps you need 'alternative client'.

Trevor Baum's picture

I think Futura is way more timeless than most typefaces, actually. Futura allcaps are some of the most beautiful letters I know. Of course the are typical for an era as well, but so is helvetica or baskerville or scala.

I don't think anyone is disputing that. I think it is safe to say, though, that Futura definitely connotes "Early 20th Century", and not the future, innovation, etc, which is what it sounds like the client is asking for.

Queneau's picture

Problem is that typefaces can not speak of the future, as they are made today, or were made some time ago. A typeface can be innovative in a way, but it would be wrong to try to make the typeface (especially the body copy one) scream future, as this will result in some kind of science fiction, and we all know how dated they look after a while. Eurostyle would be my best be if you want to pursue this direction.

But rather I would opt for a typeface that is fresh and new, which represents todays typeface fashion without being silly. Something like Sense by Nick Shinn, which is inspired by geometric faces like futura but updates it for today, might be a good bet. I have no idea if this would go well with futura though. But maybe there is a way to convince your client that this might be a better choice. Otherwise try to set futura is such a way that it looks fresh and new again. Many intelligent designers have made a rather common typeface work for them, giving it a new voice. I guess you are lucky to have Futura to work with, as it could have been a lot worse (Bauhaus, Eurostyle, Blippo, Digital or something as awful as that...)

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