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Avenir
ITC Franklin Gothic
Futura

avenir Adrian Frutiger, 1988

Avenir, translated from “future” in French, is a geometric sans serif constructed to be a more balanced and humanistic Futura. Taller x-height, shortened ascenders, flattened vertices (A, M, N, V, W, Y), and an open aperture aid Avenir’s legibility, so cities and airports frequently apply it with commercial signage and branding. Though for the most part transparent, it features a recognizable Q, y, and j that call attention to spacing (of which, otherwise, the typeface calls for little).

itc franklin gothic Victor Caruso (1979), David Berlow (1991)

ITC Franklin Gothic is a revival of the realist sans serif designed by Morris Fuller Benton in 1902. The original was intended for advertising/newspaper headline type, and was thus named after printer Benjamin Franklin. It can be recognized by its wide capitals with subtle modulation and the protruding ear of its lowercase g. European sans serifs delayed its initial popularity, but ITC’s expanded weights reclaim Frankin Gothic’s straightforward, friendly essence.

futura Paul Renner (1927), Edwin W. Shaar (1952), Tommy Thompson (1955)

Futura, one of the first geometric sans serifs, epitomizes Renner’s belief that a modern typeface should be a new design. Avoiding ornament, its forms are based on shapes that became visual elements associated with the Bauhaus. Elongated strokes end in sharp triangles on capital A and M, and the counter of the O is optically round. As the name implies, the typeface came to symbolize the future and was used accordingly on the commemorative plaque left on the Moon in 1969.