I’ve designed several geometric sans-serifs over the last decade or so. Talbot Type Athlete is one of these and has a number of similarities to Kaleko, Kamerik and Korto. The differences are subtle at times, the intention when creating Athlete was to achieve a clean, minimal sans that blends traits of two twentieth century classics – Futura and Gill Sans.
They were designed in 1927 and 1928 respectively, so close to 100 years ago, Gill owed much to Edward Johnston’s 1916 ‘Underground Alphabet’, the corporate font of London Underground.
Athlete is closer to the pure geometry of Futura, Gill Sans is a little more humanist in style. Other than the capital G which owes something to Gill Sans, Athlete has more in common with Paul Renner’s Futura.
Although highly geometric, the original Futura is not without its idiosyncrasies. The E and F have high cross bars, the B, P and R are narrow, the L very narrow and the N is very wide. In the lower case, the h and n are narrow and the z is wide.
For Athlete, I’ve opted for more balanced widths, as well as putting squared off terminals on S and s, where Futura has angled terminals.
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