Work Horse Web Fonts III: Eurostile

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This post profiles Eurostile, a classic and beautiful typeface that’s one of our top 10 fonts by usage. This post is also number three in our series of Work Horse web fonts (see bottom of article), which showcases popular typefaces that are classic, versatile and available in the WebINK library. WebINK offers the Eurostile family as 16 fonts in five weights and three widths.

About Eurostile

Eurostile is a geometric sans-serif typeface with squared letters designed by Aldo Novarese in 1962 for one of the best-known Italian foundries, Nebiolo. The letter shapes are squarish, with rounded corners, giving Eurostile a serious, commanding and somewhat futuristic tone.

Eurostile’s precursor, Microgramma, was designed in 1952 by Alessandro Butti and his young assistant, Novarese, as an uppercase-only typeface intended for bank printing. Ten years later, the apprentice Novarese became the master, adding the lower case characters and renaming the typeface “Eurostile.”

Gillette shaving foam featuring Eurostile, a work horse web font

Eurostile as featured on manly-man Gillette shaving canister

The tone of Eurostile

Although Eurostile is modern and retro all at once, it’s most commonly used to suggest the future and technology, which is ironic considering its first incarnation as Microgramma was created in the ’50s.

Personally, when I see Eurostile, I tend to think of the ’80s, but it seems more strongly associated with the “futuristic” optimism and technological advances of the post-industrial ’50s and ’60s. (Novarese was inspired by the curves of airplane windows and also the roundness of the television sets of that era).[1]

Perhaps it’s the blocky letters, or its precise, vaguely bureaucratic uniformity in any style, but to me, Eurostile is a decidedly “masculine” typeface. It’s sleek and elegant, but it means business.

All that said, used in the right context, Eurostile can really nail a design. That’s why we still use it, and why you’ve likely already seen it around.

Where you might have seen Eurostile

This is a pretty spot-on blog post supporting the notion that “any time Hollywood wants to makes something shiny, technological, or futuristic you can count on… either Eurostile or Bank Gothic. It’s practically guaranteed.” (Notably, the first time I saw Bank Gothic was for the Star Wars re-release in theaters, and today it’s the official font of the Transformers film “franchise.”)

The author is correct in pointing out that Eurostile often seems to be used to suggest technology and the future. Appropriately enough, the first time I noticed Eurostile was on the cover of The Police’s classic record cover for their fourth record, The Ghost in the Machine, which renders the band as digital symbols on a futuristic interface.

The record cover for the Police's fourth record, Ghost in the Machine, featuring Eurostile (designed by Mick Hegarty)

The record cover for the Police’s fourth record, Ghost in the Machine, featuring Eurostile (designed by Mick Hegarty)

Eurostile has also been used in these futuristic contexts as well:

The lettering on the original and new Starship Enterprise and in the new Battlestar Galactica TV series (a series I dorkily binged watched for months, but I digress…)

For the console of HAL:9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey and the book cover for another Kubrick classic, A Clockwork Orange.

A Clockwork Orange book cover with Eurostile

The insignia for the real Apollo 10 spacecraft

For “futuristic” video games’ subtitles and interface fonts: Star Wars, Halo and Homeworld, and perhaps most famously for the Asteroids stand-up arcade game’s controls.)

But hey, Eurostile isn’t just for sci-fi…

It’s also prevalent in other areas such as:

Audio and consumer electronics (Toshiba, CASIO, Roland logos; this Pioneer receiver) and music record covers (Eminem, Marilyn Manson, The Police, U2).

TV shows (Deal or No Deal, The Amazing Race, NCIS)

Automobiles (both exterior and dashboard instrument panels, although manufacturers may be shifting away from Eurostile to help improve read-time and thus safety)

Canadian Journey Notes featuring Eurostile

It’s even used in the Canadian Journey series of Canadian dollar bank notes

Try Eurostile on WebINK

Have you designed with Eurostile? Share your work in the comments below. We’d also love to hear what your favorite Work Horse Web Font might be—we just might feature it next time. We’d also love to hear if you have an example of Eurostile we might have missed, because we’re obsessive that way.

Further Reading – I’m not sure if this site is an ironic joke or not, but the guy’s unbridled enthusiasm for Eurostile seems quite real.
Eurostile on Wikipedia
Top 100 Best Typefaces: Eurostile
Eurostile: Background

What’s a Work Horse web font?

Work Horse web fonts are extremely versatile, offering a robust set of styles, weights, special characters and language options within the family. Letterforms are well-formed, with a high x-height for easy reading, while avoiding the ornate and the kinds of extremes in weight that make body text less legible. Work Horse web fonts also tend to work well at most sizes and mediums (smaller body copy notwithstanding for certain Work Horse fonts, including Eurostile).


3 Responses to “Work Horse Web Fonts III: Eurostile”

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