Semi-informed designer seeks type advice for fat sans-serif logotype
July 29, 2011 11:20 AM   Subscribe

[Type-nerd filter] What's a more "old-world"/traditional typeface: Frutiger or Gill Sans? Or something else along the same lines? Must have Black/Extra Black/Ultra faces.

If I'm using the term "old-world" incorrectly, I'll try to clarify: I'm looking for something that carries as much heritage and reads as old-fashioned as possible.

Can't be Helvetica. Too much baggage.

Picking fonts is hard.
posted by TangoCharlie to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Frutiger is based on Gill and wasn't created until 1975. Gill pre-dates it by 50 years so would be older and more traditional.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:26 AM on July 29, 2011

In my opinion, Gill Sans definitely has more "old-world" or "old-school" cachet, having lived through a World War.

I would also search font sites for "Grotesque" or "Grotesk" sub-families. These were the first sans-serif faces, and to my mind the ones that look most dated.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:30 AM on July 29, 2011

Can't be Helvetica. Too much baggage.

Not as much as Gill Sans. (

Gill Sans is the classier of the two (Frutiger looks to me like something off a box of budget spaghetti), but neither of them read as particularly old-fashioned to me. Plain old Franklin Gothic does, though, but FG is also very American (i.e. New World).

For old fashioned, you might want to look to something in a serif.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2011

Frutiger and any typeface by Adrian Frutiger is relatively new (e.g. Avenir; 1988 - Univers is from the 50s).

The "100 Besten Schriften" PDF contains all the classics. If you're looking for an "old" sans, Futura is from 1927.

Most old fonts are serifs, both faces you mention are clean sans serifs.

Your question is a bit unclear.

Warning: 6,8Mb download
posted by wolfr at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, guys, for the history lesson! (Sincerely!)

I'm working on something that, if I were being explicitly period-accurate, would be pre-20th century and thus pre-sans-serifs. I want the punch and weight of a chunky sans-serif, though, so I guess I'm looking for something that has that effect but also feels as little out-of-place as possible.

Franklin Gothic looks nice, and I'm taking a look at Akzidenz Grotesk, too.

Wolfr - thanks for the link. It turned me on to Bureau Grotesque, which has a great feel to it!
posted by TangoCharlie at 1:00 PM on July 29, 2011

Bureau Grot is the extended Bureau Grotesque and has an impeccable pedigree with a heavy nod to the century you're after.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:04 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

What time period are you looking at? Would a slab-serif be appropriate? Those can get plenty punchy and weighty.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:21 PM on July 29, 2011

If you want heavy 1800s go Blackletter. Of course, that has its own baggage. What is the topic? Any regional connections?
posted by Typographica at 1:45 AM on July 30, 2011

Also, Rhode which is in Bureau Grot's class, but even heavier. And Hamilton, one of the few sans of the 1800s. Most of what you're looking for is wood type, which is what they used for large headlines at the time.
posted by Typographica at 1:48 AM on July 30, 2011

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