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Utopic Dystopia

A Tribute to Futura the Typeface

Kerning & Characteristics
A Tribute to Futura

What about us?

What do our cities look like now, and what do we want our cities to look like in the future? Does it look like UTOPIA? What does UTOPIA look like? Are there humans in it?

In this typeface study, I focused on the social and political movements of the early 20th century. When Futura was born, designers of the time were seeking forms that reflected their feelings about war, the industrial revolution and big government, opting for egalitarian values instead of royalty and class.

Inspired by their cynicism, I create a glass city in Futura, reflecting on their idealism for equality and structure. The final pieces were printed on vellum and mounted on large acrylic pieces, each standing on their own like large skyscrapers.

Class

Typography 2
2015

Project

Typographic Study

Theme

Utopic Distopia

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History I: Philosophy
A Tribute to Futura

Research

When first diving into the makings of Futura, I went down three avenues: Environment, Mathematics, and Social Consciousness. In each of these themes, I explored related ideas, various visual languages, and questions that excited me.

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Mathematics

Research
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Mathematics

Mood Board
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Environment

Research
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Environment

Mood Board
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Social Consciousness

Mood Board
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Social Consciousness

Research

Font Study

Letterforms

From there, I dissected Futura's visual language of weights, form, and structure. As a geometric typeface, almost all of its shape comes from triangles, circles, and squares. These characteristics create clean letterforms that are both bold and minimal.

Geometric

made from basic shapes

Narrow

low x-height ratio

Pointed

pointed apexes

Monoweight

equal stroke widths

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Letterforms
A Tribute to Futura

Form & Language

By understanding Futura's basic elements, I could highlight its philosophy in my visual design. I abstracted the alphabet by pairing it with glyphs, and created panagrams in lower case, Title Case, and UPPERCASE to showcase its flexibility.

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Alphabet & Glyphs

A Tribute to Futura
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Panagrams

A Tribute to Futura

Font Weights

Every typeface has the ability to be minimal and sleek, or bold and commanding. Futura is a timeless font that is steeped in historical context and meaning. While it's philosophy is not always at the forefront of the conversation, the details pay homage to the industrial revolution and social cynicism of the times.

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Weight Variety
A Tribute to Futura
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The End Result

A Glass City

Each piece was printed on vellum (a frosty, semi-transparent) paper then mounted onto 1/2 in thick clear acrylic. When you laid out the pieces, it created a city effect, with FUTURA as its epicenter.

Interactive

I wanted each piece to be arranged by the viewer so that they could create their own city every time. Art should be as visually appealing as it is relative to its viewer.