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.


  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.

  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.

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

  4. Is that Universalis in a true type font format?

    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.