I'm trying to identify a font of which I don't even have an image, only a very distinct memory. I remember it having seen used in technical charts of about the 1950s / 1960s, e.g. diagrams describing the NASA satellite and moon missions. It is sans-serif, all caps, or actually more all small-caps since the letters tend towards a square aspect ratio more typical of small letters. The letters have a very clean appearance with no ornaments, none or almost no variation in line width, straight line ends, and a clear rhythm (without being monospaced). The weight is medium to bold.

Does anyone have an idea what I'm talking about?

Update: Thanks to JennaDesign who found an image containing the font:

Apollo 11 Flight Plan

What I was thinking of is the font used in the bold labels in the lower part of the image in all small-caps, "mission", "edition", "date". Comparing with the title of the document "flight plan", it appears now as if the other labels are actually the small letters of a small caps font, whose large letters are used in the title.

Does someone know what this font is?

  • This site ( smearedblackink.com/swiss_style_timeline ) might be of use to you; it's about the International Typographic Style, (also known as Swiss style) it's the most prominent graphic design style to have developed in the 50's, hopefully it's of use to you.
    – Jenna
    Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 0:40
  • If its the same as the moon mission : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apollo11Plaque.jpg Then this is Futura. Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 2:14
  • @OghmaOsiris: I think you are right, and I didn't realize this before because on the technical charts it's the "demibold" version, which lacks the sharp angles of the standard form.
    – A. Donda
    Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 2:42

4 Answers 4


After a hint from OghmaOsiris, I now believe it is the demi bold version of Futura.

enter image description here

The rendering is generated from Futura ND Demi Bold OT.

  • 1
    An historical aside; technical drawing text comes from the formal handwriting expected on charts from the olden days. I have constructed things ink on paper, and the "font" aimed for is constructed, engineered, stylistic. Sometimes they have slightly rounded terminals; simply because of the "technical-pen-on-paper". Looking for something with that feel, you will want something that is engineered not designed. These fonts will not vary in x-height. Please scroll down here to see expample. graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/24840/…
    – benteh
    Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 12:22
  • --- and yes; futura would fit nicely with the time. A deliberately design-engineerd cousin would be Hoefler-Frere-Jones´Gotham typography.com/fonts/gotham/overview
    – benteh
    Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 12:26
  • Thanks @boblet; yes, I thought that the use of this font is meant to emulate earlier standardized handlettering or maybe stencil-based letters. But aren't both Gotham and Optima more designed and less engineered than Futura? Optima has the line width modulations, and the G of Gotham for instance has this additional straight line down on the lower right side.
    – A. Donda
    Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 13:26
  • I have to say I never liked Futura that much because it is too obviously constructed, mere geometry, but the demi bold with the sharp points cut off and the forms generally softened has this clean, no-nonsense, technocratic feeling.
    – A. Donda
    Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 13:26
  • Yes, I kind of agree with you in respect to Futura. Swiss functionalism. It can work in logos and abbreviations though. The optima example I linked to was not meant as a replacement; I only meant to highlight the sometimes very subtle difference between a constructed font and a designed one. Herman Zapf is a calligrapher; each letter painstakingly designed. Gotham; yes, definitely designed, but to me it has that engineered look. Not saying you should use it; but it takes engineering and adds tiiiny alterations that might give it a little more "omphf" than - for example - futura.
    – benteh
    Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 13:39

NHB 1430.1

NASA Standards and Guidelines for Visual Information and Graphic Presentations

March 1968

Slides, Viewgraphs and Flip Charts

p 312


enter image description here


I think the font you are looking for is LETTER GOTHIC. It was used in the NASA's 60's documents because it was featured as an standard and eminently readeable by IBM SELECTRIC typewriters used by most American companies and institutions.

  • Bang on with the timeline (those appeared in 1961), except that there are two distinct typefaces in that image. The proportional print itself – clear, sharp black text – is some form of Futura, but the lighter grey, monospaced text indeed may be from this typewriter. See the Fonts list in this image. But the OP is looking for the printed text font.
    – Jongware
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 12:51

I THINK it is Century Gothic, or Malgun Gothic, as seen on 2007 Microsoft Word.


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