Wood Type


MANKIND-scan-2-300x63by Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for May is called Futura. It is a sans serif typeface designed in the mid 1920s in Germany by Paul Renner. He was an admirer of the Bauhaus movement that advocated functional design simplicity with a complete absence of non-essential elements. Accordingly, Renner’s Futura design achieves a clean elegant simplicity with letter shapes based on the geometric forms of the square, circle and triangle.

Futura made its commercial debut as a metal type in 1927, when it was issued by the Bauer type foundry in Germany. It achieved an early popularity among typographers and was quickly licensed or copied in other countries. Within a decade Hamilton was selling a wood-type version of Futura. Our sample “MANKIND” is a 6-line version made later by the Acme Wood-Type Co.

Over the years Futura has retained its popularity. One notable application was its use on the lunar landing plaque (see below) that was part of the landing craft known as Eagle and later Tranquility Base, used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin for the first moon landing. Today Futura is used for several corporate names including Red Bull, Domino’s Pizza, Costco and Louis Vuitton.