Last news in August: we will dedicate it to the great Paul Renner (Wernigerode, August 9th 1878 – Hödingen, April 25th 1956), a typographer and designer known above all for having designed an extremely successful typeface, which has become a timeless masterpiece: the Futura.
Renner was a graphic and typeface designer of extraordinary importance for graphic designers and typographers of the 20th century. His Futura typeface, which finally saw the light in 1927 after a many difficult re-elaborations, became the typeface that interpreted the cultural and aesthetic turn of the 20th century, radically influencing the discipline of typeface design and later penetrating into typographical workshops worldwide.
On the one hand, the Futura font represented the technical and formal solution to that strive for modernity that had driven European typographic culture since the Bauhaus movement. On the other, it was the perfect answer to the new expressive needs of the printing industry and of communication.
Today Futura is still one of those typefaces with which “you can never go wrong”. Almost 90 years from its creation, it is still the Sans Serif font, which, with its articulated and diverse typographical “strengths”, imprints a modern style on any layout, logo, advertising poster or coordinated visual identity.
Paul Renner was also a professor and an active intellectual who strongly opposed Nazism. In 1933 – the same year in which he was commissioned with the graphic design of the German Pavilion at “Triennale di Milano” and awarded the Triennale prize – he was removed from office because he was classified as a “subversive intellectual” after having published an essay on “Bolshevik culture” in which he explicitly opposed the violent and repressive Nazi culture. He was marginalized, exiled and finally arrested.
A painter, a cultured and untiring reader, and a great scholar of philosophy, he continued to work in the post war period, where he designed typefaces and wrote essays on typographic design leaving a generous and crucial legacy of studies on the modernizazion processes in writing and publishing. In addition to Futura, he also designed the Plak (1928), the Ballade (1937), the Renner Antiqua (1939) and further versions of his unforgettable Futura.
Thank you, Renner: thanks to you, the future of typography has arrived earlier than expected.