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Futura. The Typeface.

November 3, 2016 to April 30, 2017

Futura. The Typeface.


Once you have come to recognize it, you can find it everywhere – Futura. First introduced in Frankfurt/Main in 1927, the typeface quickly became an international bestseller, spread throughout all the world's major metropolises and even reaching the moon.

Designed by typographer Paul Renner within the concept of the »New Typography«, Futura is considered an embodiment of the spirit of the 1920s avant-garde. Accordingly, it determined the »modern« appearance of many print media, also shaping the look of large brand names.

The exhibition FUTURA. THE TYPEFACE. features some never before shown loan collections to illustrate the global success story of this typeface whose popularity continues undiminished to this day.

With exhibits from:

  • DDB
  • NASA
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Futura. The Typeface.


Futura. The Typeface.


Futura by Paul Renner has shaped the perceptions of modernity and the future like no other typeface. It was the only sans serif typeface that was cast and produced in all weights, grades, and fonts. Created in the second half of the 1920s, the typeface initially conquered Germany, and then quickly blazed a trail of success around the globe.

What was and remains the secret of the success of this typeface, which was constantly newly adapted to different eras and (also politically) different cultures and that remains popular and widely used to this day?

Authors include

  • Christopher Burke
  • Ute Brüning
  • Carina Danzer
  • Petra Eisele
  • Steven Heller
  • Klaus Klemp
  • Iva Knobloch
  • Andreas Koop
  • Annette Ludwig
  • Isabel Naegele
  • Michel Wlassikoff
  • Erik Spiekermann &
  • Ferdinand Ulrich
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Tribute to Paul

Special Edition

Tribute to Paul

Special Edition

TRIBUTE TO PAUL, a limited special edition, is published on the occasion of the exhibition. In anticipation of the 90th birthday of the famous typeface in 2017, selected internationally renowned designers were asked to create a visual statement.

  • Erwin K. Bauer / Wien
  • Ralph Bauer, vm& / Lima
  • Pere Alvaro, Bisdixit / Barcelona
  • Catalogtree / Arnheim, Berlin
  • Neil Donnelly / New York
  • form / Frankfurt
  • Gardeners / Frankfurt
  • Juli Gudehus / Berlin
  • Lars Harmsen / München
  • Marcel Häusler / Hamburg
  • HauserLacour / Frankfurt
  • HELMO / Montreuil sous Bois
  • Antonia Henschel / Frankfurt
  • I like birds / Hamburg
  • Ruedi Baur, Intégral / Zürich / Paris
  • Julia Neller / Berlin
  • PS2 / Sao Paulo
  • Jakob Runge / München
  • Erik Spiekermann &
    Ferdinand Ulrich, P98 / Berlin
  • TRAFIK / Lyon
  • Vier5 / Paris
  • Markus Weisbeck / Frankfurt
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Tribute to a Typeface

Translations 5 Symposium

Tribute to a Typeface

Translations 5 Symposium

November 4, 2016, University of Applied Sciences, Mainz

The symposium series »Translations« of the department of communication design at the University of Applied Sciences Mainz focuses on recent design history findings on the development and reception of Futura. It will also present current type and corporate design works that refer to the famous geometrical sans-serif typeface or deliberately oppose it.

Lecturers include:

  • Bisdixit / Barcelona
  • Stefanie Barth / Mailand
  • Christopher Burke / Reading
  • Petra Eisele / Mainz
  • Carina Frey / Paris
  • Gardeners / Frankfurt
  • I like birds / Hamburg
  • Klaus Klemp / Frankfurt
  • Iva Knobloch / Prag
  • Isabel Naegele / Mainz
  • Albert-Jan Pool / Kiel
  • Jakob Runge / München

Lectures in German and English.

Supporting program

For November 3, a supporting program is planned, including a »FUTURA WALK« through Mainz, the presentation of the special edition »TRIBUTE TO PAUL«, a topical exhibition of students' works, and a get-together in the lounge.


For participation in the symposium and supporting program (incl. lunch). Group tickets are available for student groups. We recommend that you purchase the tickets early, as seating is limited.

Student ticket: 20
Professional ticket: 50
Student group ticket (5 persons): 80
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Participatory image platform


Participatory image platform

FUTURA typetrap has launched the world's largest search for the Futura typeface: on posters, neon signs, billboards, signs, packages, books, business cards, tattoos, etc., at home, in the city and in the countryside. Everyone is invited to upload their findings to the participatory image platform and discuss them.
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Futura. The Typeface.

Special exhibition
Gutenberg Museum
Vernissage: November 2, 2016, 6.30 p.m.
Exhibition duration: November 3, 2016 to April 30, 2017

Translations 5 Symposium
Futura. Tribute to a Typeface

November 3, 2016, 6 p.m. Vernissage and presentation of the special edition
November 4, 2016, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Symposium
University of Applied Sciences Mainz, Holzstrasse location


Participatory image platform


»Artistic experiments with FUTURA fonts« with expert instruction by master printer Rainer Huth.

Workshop »Poster/wrapping paper printing«: Experiment with FUTURA poster fonts, colors and shapes, and create a poster or wrapping paper. Druckladen (print workshop), at 10 am and 3 pm:
Saturdays, November 5, 2016 / January 14, 2017 / March 4, 2017

Workshop »Card printing«, Druckladen (print workshop), at 10 am and 3 pm:
Saturdays, December 3, 2016 / February 11, 2017 / April 8, 2017

Workshop fee: Adults 5 €, University Students 4 €, Schoolchildren 3 € (workshop fee includes a poster or sheet of wrapping paper or three cards)

Registration required:
Tel. ++49 (0) 6131 122 686 or

Tours and Information



FUTURA. THE TYPEFACE. is a cooperation project of the Gutenberg Museum,
Dr. Annette Ludwig, director

and the Institut Designlabor Gutenberg of the University of Applied Sciences Mainz,
Prof. Dr. Petra Eisele, Design history/theory
Prof. Dr. Isabel Naegele, Typography

Supported by many students of the University of Applied Sciences Mainz, department of communication design

  • typetrap

  • Sarah Schmitt, Christian Weber, Axel Becker
  • Gutenberg Intermedia Masters' program
    Supervision: Philipp Pape, Isabel Naegele, Petra Eisele
  • Translations 5 Symposium

  • Michaela Müller, Anna Pfälzer, Tobias Wenz

Project partners

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Media partners & sponsors

_ _ _ swr2 Bauer DB Museumsbund

Förderverein Gutenberg (Gutenberg Sponsorhip Association). Internationale Gutenberg-Gesellschaft (The International Gutenberg Society), Stiftung Moses (Moses foundation), Mainz



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