In its origins, the font Futura´s main reason for being was beauty. It was designed with one objective in mind: to be the most geometrical typeface. One typeface to rule them all.
As such, all letters were to be shaped like basic circles and lines and indeed it looked very stylish and proportional.
But being so beautiful has its drawbacks (ask Angelina Jolie). Letters were crafted in such a similar and neutral manner that they blended together and it became more difficult to read in comparison to “less pretty” fonts.
In summary, beauty overtook function, which is not ideal in terms of design.
IKEA for instance, who had been using Futura for the past 50 years, recently switched to Verdana which is more appropriate for the web and universally accepted.
This just makes us reflect about how online particularities can finally permiate into the offline World as this choice affected not only the IKEA online domains but also their printed catalogs.
So, is beauty a means to an end but not an end in itself when it comes to design? I think so. The final objective should satisfying consumers needs (whilst maximising beauty while we achieve this).
As Frank Lloyd Wright said: “Form follows function—that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”
And to end on a light(er) note. Please check out this video by the guys in College Humour…I´m sure you will recognise the protagonist typefaces (thanks to the master of disaster for sending this)
Thanks for reading, take care amigos.
(post ended to the tune of De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da by The Police)