Found this interesting font on a government letter in an archive. Would love to learn the type face!

enter image description here

  • 3
    There are many very similar on whatthefont. The only thing really 'interesting' is the kerning appears to have been done on horseback ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 22 at 11:21
  • Haha yeah fair enough, but I kinda love it? Jan 23 at 2:46
  • And despite the "lovely" characters they couldn't spell FORWARDING correctly. [sigh]
    – chicks
    Jan 24 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


The general genre is neogrotesque, and it looks like Univers was the main inspiration. A lot of characters especially GQty17 are similar.

But this doesn't look like a standard font-it looks like something made by some kind of lettering or reproduction machine. Aside from the fact that I don't recognize it, some odd spacing on the lower case especially (the wide floaty r and y) suggest a machine which had to use a set of specific character widths. That reminds me of an adaptation IBM did of Univers for typewriter-but that looks slightly different to this, more tightly spaced. Overall this feels like something drawn by an engineer creating a machine, one in which the letterforms weren't the highest priority.

More subtly, this could be the effect of ink spread and I'd need to measure to be sure, but this also feels a bit more monoline than most standard font design, the horizontal strokes would perhaps normally be slightly thinner compared to the verticals. But it's subtle and I could be seeing things on that one.

To find something like this, I would search for fonts in the neogrotesque style but not the famous ones, not Helvetica and Univers and Folio, look at more recent fonts by more experimental designers interested in more "outsider art" feeling fonts. Authentic Sans has a lot of the "not-designed" feel of this font, and maybe also check out Reader by Colophon too. Or look at Fonts In Use and start clicking through the neogrotesque fonts that have been popular lately.

There's a freeware digitization of Univers in eight styles called U001 (released by font digitization company URW for a freeware project-long story). But it's not going to look quite like this in overall color, it actually has more stroke contrast than the original Univers, so it's going to look much more "designed" than this. Still, it's a nice family and I use it often.

  • 1
    Yeah, I think it's very likely some sort of type/reproduction machine font. It's definitely older than 20 years given its location in the archive. An IBM printing machine using a (perhaps dumbed down?) version of Univers for large-scale operations would make sense. Jan 23 at 2:59

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