I've tried using WhatTheFont and other tools, but nothing clear has come through.

What are the typefaces used for labeling in the late-1970s on hi-fi devices such as the JA-S77?


JVC JA-S77 VU metres top


  • Can you get a clearer image?
    – Cai
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 17:10
  • @Cai, I can try, but all of the large images are sufficiently lo-res to be effectively useless.
    – NoahM
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 17:12
  • the "ja-s77 stereo etc" is not Futura BTW. My first thought is optima, but I think there are differences (the 7s especially)
    – Yorik
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 21:04
  • @Yorik, agreed. It is clearly a different face than the labelling
    – NoahM
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 1:15

2 Answers 2


It's hard to say anything with much certainty from that image (or any I can find), but it looks a lot like Futura.

enter image description here

The shape of the "A", "B", "N" and "M"s especially give it away. And you can see by overlaying the same text in Futura (I've done some slight distortion to match the angle of the image but no kerning/spacing on the type itself) that the proportions are pretty much spot on:

enter image description here

It's not an uncommon use of Futura; You can see this flight control unit that uses Futura for example (which according to Wikipedia "is widespread in the aerospace industry for flight instrument and control markings"):

enter image description here

  • 1
    Definately Futura. I was about to post that when your answer popped in. "Trebuchet MS" is a very similar font that the OP may already have. It is narrower, so the OP might scale it horizontally by ~120% to get a reasonable facsimile.
    – Yorik
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 18:18
  • @Yorik, I'm pretty sure that I have at least a couple of weights of Futura and I've got a pretty sizeable collection of Avenir, assuming Frutiger kept similar enough letter forms (considering that the latter is descended from the former)
    – NoahM
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 20:19
  • Cai, provided a scale, do you think you could figure the type height (TrueType points)? The height is 158mm and the width is 450mm
    – NoahM
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 1:16
  • @NoahM type size of the labels I compared earlier is 9pt, the smaller labels (ON/OFF etc) are 7pt.
    – Cai
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 2:04
  • Cai, which weight of Futura did you check this against?
    – NoahM
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 2:37

"STEREO INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER" is a "stressed" or "modulated" sans-serif: one with stroke modulation. (In other words, not monoline like most sans-serifs like Helvetica.) This style was very popular in the 1970s, but fell out of fashion soon after - so it's not certain that this font is digitised. Britannic Light is sort of similar, but too condensed. You might have to look around on MyFonts for something using those keywords. The Rolls-Royce (quality and price) recent family in this style is Paul Barnes' Chiswick Sans.

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