In Department of Design, Faculty and Staff

Design Professor Doug Thomas goes to San Francisco as a TEDx speaker to talk about the ideas in his new book “Never Use Futura”

BYU Professor Doug Thomas, author of “Never Use Futura.” Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

What do Nike, Vanity Fair, NASA and Germany’s communist party all have in common? They have all used Futura. Even the plaque the United States sent to the moon was written in Futura typeface. Thomas claims that Futura took over the world. “Futura is a name that invokes hope and an idea about the future,” Thomas said. The promise of progress is why Futura is so ingrained in our history, without us even realizing it.  

In his new book “Never Use Futura” BYU design professor Douglas Thomas explores the cultural history and impact of the typeface you never knew you knew. Thomas’ book was accepted into the Print Regional Design Awards 2018 for the quality of the book design, and it was the topic for Thomas’ TEDx talk this last October.

In his TEDx talk, Thomas described the typeface Futura and the vast history that surrounds this seemingly mundane part of our society. However, “typeface is important for gaining trust in the written word that surrounds us every day,” Thomas said as he switched the typefaces that are associated with Tiffany & Co. and McDonalds. “You have to judge signs and signals and decide which ones you are going to trust and which ones you will ignore,” Thomas said. The subtle ways we discern typeface is how ‘Futura’ made such a drastic impact on our society.  

More about Thomas’ book and his TEDx video can be found here.


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