Eurostile. The typeface seems to be in a class of its own. It is
distinctively bulky, bold, and has unique width-oriented proportions.
Cool elegance. The sans Serif typeface has the aura of an airport
entrance hall in 1963. The font is ideal for Logotypes, fashion and
stylish designs. It has a timeless link to a semi sci-fi and futuristic
feeling. It is an ideal typeface for computer displays in spaceships:
perfect to display power, cold superiority, authority. Eurostile makes
the user obey. The user might be someone depositing a check into an ATM,
or someone who has been stopped by the police.
It is also, in fact, the typeface HAL used to communicate with humans.
The original typeface design for Eurostile, created 1952, was called
Microgramma. In early stages, it was a limited style, containing only
capital letters. These characters were not yet built for perfection.
Microgramma was a creation of the Turinese Nebiolo Type foundry. Its
designers were Alessandro Butti, the head of the Artistic Studio of
Nebiolo, and Aldo Novarese, who was about to become one of the most
important type designers in post-war Europe. In 1962, Novarese completed
Microgramma and improved the shape of some of its letters, thus creating
Eurostile. At 32, Novarese was already the head of the Artistic Studio.
Colleagues were Swiss designers like Miedinger or Frutiger, who had just
published Univers 1961.
Novarese tried to capture the spirit of his time: Eurostile was created
in the era of the coldwar-spacerace. The futuristic feeling of the early
'60s had changed the approach towards product design. The Compaso d'Oro
Awards were given to products that seemed to be designed for space
travel. Marco Zanuso's television set looked almost like the helmet of
an astronaut. Castiglioni's Coffee machine was like a container for use
in the kitchenette of an intercontinental Airplane.
(http://www.dolcevita.com/design/museum/1962.shtml). The Telstar
communications satellite relayed the first transatlantic television
pictures. And MIT graduate student Steve Russell invented something
that became the first video game, "Space War" (play a java emulation of
the game at: http://lcs.www.media.mit.edu/groups/el/projects/spacewar/).
Eurostile has been an influential font ever since it's creation. When a
design needs a contemporary or even futuristic touch, or has to look
trustworthy, requires obedience or a "speed increasing feeling,"
Eurostile could be right choice. Because of its special extended cuts,
it is highly readable, representing speed and competition.
It is ideal for high technology design even today. Because of it's
established popularity, Eurostile has the added value of high
recognition, and is able to impact users/readers psychologically. This
might be one of the reasons why Eurostile is being used by the NYPD for
the "POLICE" stencilled on the back of their cars. It might also be one
of the reasons why most ATMs in New York use this typeface to guide the
user through permanent interfaces (like deposit slots).
To understand how easy it is for designers to create a new and
successfull image with Eurostile, take a look at Ralph Lauren. Lauren
chose Eurostile as a logotype for his sporty POLO SPORT line.
(http://www.ralphlaurenfragrance.com/rlf/product/sportm.html) Polo Sport
is a good example of how this font creates a fresh image without really
modifying a typeface.
Razorfish, designers of the RLF website, like this typeface so much that
they used it for the complete user interface on the site.
Other Fragrance Companies also use Eurostile to improve the look of
their product line. Did Nautica try to enter the same market as Polo
Sport by using the same font? Their product is aptly named
"competition," and the subliminal message seems to be that by using the
same font, Nautica has the same qualities as Polo Sport. The complete
corporate identity of Nautica begins to shift towards a Eurostile look.
(Nautica's Web site is currently on hold. )
Eurostile seems to be the typeface of choice when it comes to evoking
light, futuristic feelings. Swatch uses it to advertise it's IRONY line.
An irony of Swatch's using Eurostile is that this font by Italian
typographer Novarese is used for the words "swiss made" on every Swatch
Is Eurostile overused? There are designers who use Eurostile in
experimental ways. Arosa 2000's website is a good example.
Frankfurt-based artists/designers , Monika Friebe, Alex Oppermann and
Michael Dodt, also members of the Stardax group in Germany, love to use
Eurostile for their multimedia art and design projects.
Compared to Rasorfish's RLF website, Eurostile looks much fresher in the
hands of Arosa 2000' (check out http://www.form.de/wiw/index.html – go
to the Arosa December special. Presently there is no English version of
the "form's" website.) Arosa2000's web site is:
Eurostile has become a definition for many feelings & commands. It has
gone beyond being just the carrier of information – not just hiding
behind its message – it is strong enough to generate it's own message.
It would be a challenge to create a sequel to this font, a font that
could have similar features or impact on the design of its
Eurostile bold: http://www.urwpp.de/english/fonts/e/e004004t/e004004t.htm
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