Geometric sans serif typefaces first appeared in the early 1920s with the rise of modernism and the machine age. As design and architecture moved towards purity and simplicity, typography sought unity and rationality. The original grotesque typefaces of the 19th century would no longer suffice, formal purity demanded that the circle, triangle, and square be celebrated. The resulting letterforms were characterized by this geometric construction, owing more to mathematical forms than to the calligraphic letter.
In 1927, Paul Renner defined the genre with Futura, arguably the most popular sans serif of the mid 20th century. Futura was not alone though—Rudolf Koch’s Kabel (1927), Wilhelm Pischner’s Neuzeit Grotesk (1928), Dick Dooijes’ Nobel (1929), and Herb Lubalin’s Avant Garde (1968) all became broadly used standards of geometric type design.
In recent years there has been renewed interest geometric letterforms. A number of robust geometric interpretations have been designed that are better suited to handle contemporary typographic demands. LL Circular and FF Mark come to mind. Dalton Maag’s Objektiv by Bruno Mello is a welcome addition to this short list—it comes in 7 weights with three style variants.