Paul Renner (1878 – 1956)

Paul Renner was born in Wernigerode, Germany on August 9, 1878, and is another well-known graphic artist, painter, type designer, author and teacher. He is perhaps best known for developing the Futura typeface, which became one of the most successful and utilised typefaces of the 20th-century. Futura known as a milestone creation of the 20th-century, had a major influence on both modern and postmodern typeface designs.

Renner grew up to develop a strong sense of leadership, devotion and responsibility and this helped him in the nine years he took to learn Greek and Latin, then later took a keen interest in the study of the arts. In the year 1926, he was handed a position as the head of the Printing Trade School in Munich, which he accepted then eventually went on to become director of the Master School for Germany’s Printers. During his years of study, Renner developed a resistance to the wave of abstract expressionist art which was spreading across Europe at the time and sought a fascination with the functionalist strain in modernism.

Eventually in 1932, during the rise of the Nazi idealism, Renner took a stand against it by publishing his scandalous booklet, titled Kulturbolschewismus (Cultural Bolshevism) which denounced Nazi cultural policies. The year 1933 came and Renner was arrested and underwent a period of exile, where he sought to communicate his ideas on culture then attempted to enforce it through his writing, teaching and designing. His creative talents were utilised in the applied arts by designing books and typefaces. In these books, such as Die Kunst der Typographie (The Art of Typography), he set standards and guidelines as to the production of sophisticated book designs. It is in these published works, the crucial role in the invention of the typeface Futura is seen, where even to this day modern typographers still utilise this simple geometric sans-serif font.

Paul Renner Artwork


Paul Renner (1928), Futura Light


Paul Renner (1924), Futura

Paul Renner Inspired Artwork


Historical plaque of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module


Avenir (1988), Adrian Frutiger



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