Retro-futurism. Modern architecture and product design. Star Trek. These are the images invoked by the bold, geometric and oft-used Microgramma and Eurostile - a pair of typefaces co-created by Italian designer Aldo Novarese during the mid-20th century.
Novarese, while working at the Nebilolo foundry in Turin, designed Microgramma in 1952, along with Alessandro Butti. An uppercase-only, sans-serif font, Microgramma employed clean, rectangular letterforms capped-off with rounded corners for a distinctive display font look, which mirrored and predicted much of what was to be considered modern and forward-looking over the next several decades. As such, Microgramma has since been used in numerous science-fiction shows and films including 2001: A Space Odyssey; Star Trek; The Andromeda Strain; and The Incredibles.
A full decade later, Novarese refined his earlier work - simplifying junctures, adding the slightest bit more flow and size to curves - and added a lowercase setting (Microgramma has since been expanded to include lowercase as well as several variant forms). This new typeface, Eurostile, has gone on to add some 16 font variations and has been similarly utilised in future-centric entertainment, as well as for logos by several large technology companies such as Toshiba, Nokia and CASIO, and was also used for the limited Journey series of Canadian note-based currency from 2001-2006.
Despite the tweaks made in 1962, identifying the differences between the two typefaces, especially in smaller print, can be a challenge for even seasoned typophiles.
|Microgramma (black fill) compared to Eurostile (red outline)|