Fonts inspired by architechture

ebben's picture

I'm writing a short article on fonts inspired by architechture or that have significant influence on architechture.

I start off with fonts inspired by the Trajan column in Rome, I will cover Bauhaus and probably Jugend fonts. I'm considering including Johnston (the London Tube font), and also Futura (Ikea used it, so at least there's a link to furniture if not architechture).

Being Norwegian, I will also include Sindre Bremnes's beautiful Telefon font (based on lettering on the classic Norwegian telephone kiosks), which has been discussed on Typhofile.

What other fonts should I include? Thanks a lot for any help!

hrant's picture

Great topic.

There's a book you must get your hands on: "The letter as a work of art; observations and confrontations with contemporaneous expressions of art from Roman times to the present day." by G. Knuttel (Amsterdam Foundry, 1951). It illustrates and discusses the connections between typestyles and other cultural artifacts, especially architecture.

See also:


Nick Shinn's picture

It always seemed to me that certain compressed, early twentieth century typefaces had a bit of skyscraper in them, e.g. Raleigh Gothic and Corvinus Skyline.

Of course, such styles initially date from the early nineteenth century, when they were developed for use in all-type fly-posters, providing a good way for a long name to make a sizeable impression in a limited width.

Rather than direct inspiration, types are informed (perhaps subconsciously) by multiple factors. In fact, it’s the nature of design that it addresses multiple issues in an economic manner, killing many birds with one stone, as it were. With type, I would say that there are influences that stem from non-typographic design disciplines—such as architecture—and those that stem from fashions/trends in layout, and the design space opened up by new font production and printing/display technology.

Presently, there is a vogue for all-cap sans headlines (often multi-line), and more recently, those all-cap settings are being made with compressed type styles. Architecture? Go figure.

HVB's picture

Richard Keijzer (Netherlands) has been creating fonts based on signage used to identify buildings; primarily art deco-ish, they all have 'mokum' as the leading part of their names.

Here's his site; the fonts (which are free) are currently off-line:

Somewhere buried in his blogs are photos of the buildings that inspired him.

Some of his fonts can be found on free font sites. Their names are:

Mokum Betendorp
Mokum Cohen
Mokum Cohen Top
Mokum Expo
Mokum Giro
Mokum Oorkonde
Mokum Stad

Luc De Vroye has some more information here - he includes some fonts that I was unaware of:

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