Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Font Bundle with Futura

Design Cuts promo image for Futura

Here at the Zenopus Archives, Futura is our font. TSR used it in not only the Holmes Basic rulebook, but also the original printings of the LBBs and Greyhawk, the first four AD&D hardcovers, and certain modules of the time period such as the Keep on the Borderlands. Specifically, a combination of Futura Book (for ordinary type) and Futura Bold (for headers), as seen in this example from the Holmes rulebook:




If you are interested in obtaining Futura for use in free or commercial OSR projects, the version by the URW typeface foundry is currently available as part of a $39 font bundle deal that includes a license for commercial use. The ordinary price for all of the fonts in the bundle is supposedly $5088. As far as I can tell, the bundling company Design Cuts is legitimate, working with the various font owners to offer the bundle. This bundle is available for about 1 more week.

I bought the bundle last week & found the URW Futura to be sufficiently well done. It's not an exact match for the version used by TSR, being slightly more compact and taller, but probably close enough for most users. More about the various electronic renderings of Futura that are commercially available can be read in this Quora article from a few years back.

I plan to update the Holmes Ref sheets using the URW Futura, and will try to post an example later in the week.

8 comments:

  1. I did some research on Futura and other fonts a few years ago. Not sure if you have seen TSR Fonts I feel the four main fonts for evoking that old D&D feel are, Futura, Helvetica, Avant Garde, and Souvenir. Have you ever come across Universalis? It is a pretty good match for Futura and it is free. http://arkandis.tuxfamily.org/adffonts.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, RW. I remember your font post from a few years back very well. I even took a look at Universalis at the time, but the dealbreaker for me was the ampersand - it used the modern "et" ligature instead of the traditional style which seems required for D&D.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hear you. Nothing like just using the real thing. I am just especially cheap!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I played around with Arial, Futura, Helvetica and a few others (in their Microsoft Word for Mac versions), and to me, Helvetica seemed the closest match for the 3 little brown books, while Futura most closely tracked Holmes and AD&D. Does that make sense?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This may depend on the printing referred to. I just double checked, and the first printing of Men & Magic clearly has the straight "j" and egg-shaped "a" of Futura versus the curved "j" and extra-curved-line "a" of Helvetica. Futura was also used in the first printing of Greyhawk, but was quickly changed in the second printing to a serif font (shudder)

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I must have a later printing of Men & Magic, as well as a later printing of Greyhawk. I didn't know that the Greyhawk font had changed, but I always wondered about that serif font. :)

      Delete
  5. Is that Universalis in a true type font format?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I checked and I still have Universalis installed in my Font Book but the file info says that it is an OpenType Post Script. I believe I got it from a link that RW supplied a while back.

      Delete