Choosing the right font for your next or current project can be a timely and stressful process, especially if you don’t already have a few go to options. Whilst there isn’t strictly a specific category for architecture fonts, there are certain type faces that work better than others.
A good or bad font can make or break a presentation and severally contribute to its level of engagement …So here we offer a list of our favorite architecture fonts (and the ones that we consider to be the best) that will hopefully help you to decide a little quicker and stop the endless scrolling through all the “free” font sites!
What is a font?
The term font comes from metal typesetting and was a specific size, weight and style of a typeface. The typeface would consist of a range of these fonts that would all share the overall design (the typeface).
Today however with digital typography now very dominant, the term font is more commonly associated with/to a typeface, where each font file is a different design.
For example the typeface “Futura” may include the fonts “Futura light”, “Futura italic”, “Futura bold” and “Futura extended”, but the term “font” might be applied either to one of these on their own or to the Futura font as a whole.
As well as the above variations (light, italic and bold), fonts can be categorized by their type of box (higher and lower case), by source, Sans – serif (without serif), Serif (with serif), Script (cursive) and Dingbat (ornamental), in addition to numerous other identity features of the same style.
Why are fonts important?
In terms of architecture, fonts form a fundamental graphic communication device for presentations with nonverbal reading. This is particularly relevant when a project is publicaly presented and on show, or for competitions and critiques where the work presented is assessed without its author present.
…The go to architecture fonts
Hopefully you have never experienced a architectural presentation written in Comic Sans! but we can almost guarantee that you have seen (maybe even without knowing) a lot in Helvetica.
It’s an obvious one to font nerds but when you’re pressed for time and/or struggling to find the perfect scenario, Helvetica will rarely let you down.
For those that haven’t come across this font before, there is an excellent film about typography, graphic design and visual culture, that looks at the proliferation of Helvetica.
It explores the way the font affects our daily lives and invites everyone to take a second look at the thousands of words written in it that we see and experience every day.
Our favorite architecture fonts
The below selection of fonts are the architecture fonts that we have had the most success with, and that we feel can be used in just about any architectural situation.
A few of them are paid fonts, and so if don’t wont to pay and cant find a free version hiding somewhere, then Google have a huge array of free fonts where you’ll be able to find something similar here
DIN 1451 font
Designed in 1931 for the German standards body DIN – Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Institute for Standardization) – this font uses all of the principles of the Bauhaus and as a result has not dated in anyway.
It has strong characteristics that make it perfect for architectural use, the first is its condensed nature, that’s means the font creates a strong mass and form when used as text in paragraphs. This results in the type becoming more of a shape on the page and presentation board.
Franklin Gothic font
Produced by the American type designer Morris Fuller Benton (1872–1948) in 1902, it reflects and speaks of confidence, boldness and expressiveness.
Franklin Gothic has more character than other sans serif fonts, and works best when accompanying a more subtle and sensitive font, forming either the title or sub-titles of text.
Released in 2000 by Hoefler and Frere-Jones, this clean and modern sans serif typeface was inspired by the lettering found on the architecture of New York City, and has become one of the most popular fonts for designers over the last 13 years.
Created by Paul Renner in the 1920s, this font is a favorite for architects with its classic modern design. Similar to Din 1451 this is inspired by Bauhaus techniques, and uses straight lines and curves that provide balance when used in short paragraph grouping.
It’s best however to avoid using this for long text, as it can it certain circumstances appear over powering and visually distracting.
So adopt this font for titles, subtitles and short paragraphs on your architectural boards and drawings.
Graphic designer Christian Schwartz created this font in honor of the world renowned modernist architect Richard Neutra.
The iconic architectural photographer Julius Schulman and Dion Neutra also participated in the process.
Making it a very popular and highly used typeface in the works of architecture and design and as a competitor for Futura.
Designed by Lucas deGroot, This fonts clean aesthetics and proportions make it a great option for long texts that won’t tire the reader.
It’s widely used in books and specialized Architecture magazines, making it perfect for descriptive texts on presentation boards and for competition entries.
As described above this is a personal go to of ours and widely used due to its minimalistic and straight lined appearance by architects and firms everywhere.
Together with Colsolas this is among one of the most used texts, and is notorious among professionals. Built in the twentieth century, by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann, it is strongly associated with modern graphic design, due to its set of lines and layout its designer sought a neutral and concise design.
Developed by Mike Abbink at IBM in collaboration with Dutch type foundry Bold Monday who are in their own words “the typographical equivalent of a so called “indie” record company”. The front aims to IBM’s brand spirit, beliefs and design principles.
It is the corporate typeface for IBM worldwide. Plex was released as an open source project in 2017 and includes Sans, Sans Condensed, Mono and Serif.
Released in 2015, Lato is a free humanist sans-serif typeface designed by font designer Łukasz Dziedzic. The name “Lato” is Polish for “summer”.
As of August 2018, Lato is thought to be used on more than 9.6 million websites, and is the third most served font on Google Fonts, with over one billion views per day.
Best fonts for architecture portfolio’s
When it comes to choosing a font for an architecture portfolio, it’s important to consider both readability and aesthetic appeal. A font that is easy to read will help ensure that the content of your portfolio is easily understood by your audience, while a font that is aesthetically pleasing will help make your portfolio more visually appealing.
Any of above fonts can be used for any type of architectural presentation , document, or drawing, and that certainly includes architectural portfolios. The best one will ultimately depend on your personal preferences and the overall design aesthetic of the portfolio itself.
And you certainly don’t need to opt for any of these slightly more bespoke and harder to come by fonts and typefaces, as there are of course many “standard” fonts that are also very good options to consider such as:
- Arial: Arial is a sans-serif font that is widely used in print and online. It’s a clean, modern font that is easy to read and looks professional.
- Calibri: Calibri is another sans-serif font that is popular for its readability and versatility. It’s a good choice for an architecture portfolio due to it working well in both print and online formats.
- Times New Roman: Times New Roman is a classic serif font that is often used in professional documents, including portfolios. It’s a good choice if you want to convey a sense of tradition and professionalism.
- Verdana: Verdana is a sans-serif font that is designed to be easy to read on screens. It’s a good choice for an online architecture portfolio because it’s legible at small sizes and looks clean and modern.
Stand out from the competition, and create an interview ready portfolio.
As touched on, don’t be scared to combine two fonts together (this is a very normal process), one for your titles and one for the main body of your text.
As much like layering your scaled drawings together to form a coherent presentation, layering fonts achieves the same principle.
Here are four more fonts that architects use for both portfolios and drawings:
The Bauhaus font, also known as the “universal typeface,” is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed by László Moholy-Nagy in 1923. It was created as part of the Bauhaus school’s philosophy of promoting functional, unadorned design that focused on the essential elements of form and function.
It’s characterized by its simple, geometric forms and lack of decorative elements. It features circular letterforms with smooth, straight lines and sharp angles. The letters are evenly spaced and have a uniform height, which gives the typeface a balanced, harmonious appearance.
Today, the Bauhaus typeface is considered a classic and is widely used in design projects around the world. It is considered a timeless and versatile typeface that is well-suited for a wide range of applications.
Garamond is a classic, elegant font with a long history dating back to the 16th century. It is named after the French typographer Claude Garamond, who developed the font based on the handwriting of Renaissance scribes. The font has a timeless, refined look and is often used in formal documents, such as books, reports, and resumes.
This font is characterized by its relatively small x-height (the distance between the baseline and the top of lowercase letters), which gives it a delicate, graceful appearance. It also has a relatively large counter (the space enclosed by the letters “o” and “e”) and long, thin serifs (the decorative strokes at the ends of letterforms). These features contribute to the font’s elegant, readable look.
Garamond is generally considered a classic, timeless font that is well-suited for a wide range of architecture projects.
Montserrat is a sans-serif font designed by Julieta Ulanovsky in 2011. It is named after the neighborhood of Montserrat in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Ulanovsky grew up. The font was inspired by the typography of the neighborhood’s old shop signs, and was intended to be a modern, geometric alternative to traditional sans-serif fonts.
Montserrat is known for its clean, minimalistic design, which is characterized by its relatively large x-height (the distance between the baseline and the top of lowercase letters) and low contrast between thick and thin strokes.
It has a geometric, symmetrical appearance, with circular letters and straight, simple lines.
Montserrat is widely used in a variety of medias, including websites, logos, and print materials. It is often paired with serif fonts to create a contrast between the two styles, and is well-suited for both display and body text.
Overall, Montserrat is a versatile, modern font that is widely popular among designers and architects.
Gill Sans Font
Gill Sans is a sans-serif font designed by Eric Gill in the 1920s. It is named after Gill, who was a British artist, typeface designer, and writer. Gill Sans is known for its clean, elegant design, which is characterized by its relatively large x-height (the distance between the baseline and the top of lowercase letters) and horizontal strokes that are thicker than the vertical strokes.
This font has a humanist, geometric appearance, with rounded letters and a mix of straight and curved lines. It is often described as a “warm” font, as it has a softer, more organic feel compared to some other sans-serif fonts.
Gill Sans is often paired with serif fonts to create a contrast between the two styles, and is well-suited for both display and body text. Overall, Gill Sans is a classic, elegant font that is popular among designers for its versatility and timeless appeal.
Where can you find the best architectural fonts?
There are many places where you can find high-quality architectural fonts. Some of which include:
- Professional type foundries: Professional type foundries are companies that specialize in creating and selling high-quality fonts. Many of these foundries offer a wide range of architectural fonts that are designed to be easy to read and to clearly convey information.
- Online font marketplaces: Online font marketplaces are websites that offer a wide variety of fonts for purchase. These marketplaces often have a large selection of architectural fonts, including both free and premium options.
- Professional design software: Professional design software, such as Adobe Creative Cloud, often includes a wide selection of high-quality fonts, including architectural fonts. These fonts are often included as part of the software subscription, or can be purchased separately.
- Font websites: There are many websites that offer a wide variety of fonts for download, including architectural fonts. Some of these websites offer free fonts, while others charge a fee for their fonts.
When looking for architectural fonts, it’s important to consider the quality and readability of the font, as well as any licensing restrictions that may apply.
Where can you find the best free architectural fonts?
There are several places where you can find free architectural fonts online. Some options include:
- Google Fonts: Google Fonts is a free online library of fonts that includes a wide variety of fonts, including several that are well-suited to architectural and technical documents. You can browse and preview the fonts on the Google Fonts website, and then easily download and install the ones you want to use.
- Font Squirrel: Font Squirrel is another website that offers a large selection of free fonts, including a number of architectural fonts. You can browse and preview the fonts on the website, and then download and install the ones you want to use.
- Dafont: Dafont is a website that offers a wide variety of free fonts, including many that are suitable for architectural and technical documents. You can browse and preview the fonts on the website, and then download and install the ones you want to use.
- FontSpace: FontSpace is a website that offers a large selection of free fonts, including several that are well-suited to architectural and technical documents. You can browse and preview the fonts on the website, and then download and install the ones you want to use.
Is there a architecture font generator?
Yes, there are several online tools that can generate architectural fonts. These tools allow you to create custom fonts based on your specific design preferences and requirements.
Here are a few options to consider:
- FontStruct: FontStruct is an online font generator that allows you to create custom fonts by combining and modifying pre-designed blocks of letters. You can use FontStruct to create a wide range of font styles, including architectural fonts.
- FontForge: FontForge is a free, open-source font editor that allows you to create and edit fonts. It has a wide range of features and tools that can be used to create custom fonts, including architectural fonts.
- Glyphr Studio: Glyphr Studio is an online font editor that allows you to create custom fonts by drawing letters using a simple interface. You can use Glyphr Studio to create a wide range of font styles, including architectural fonts.
Using one of these online font generators can be a fun and creative way to create custom architectural fonts for your own use or for use in your design projects. Keep in mind that some of these tools may require a certain level of design experience or technical knowledge to use effectively.
What the best font for Fonts for architectural drawings?
The short answer is that most of the above fonts are just as suitable for architectural drawings as they are for portfolios. Although as architects, the programs we use to draw in tends to have a more standardized font selection and so generally speaking we lean more towards Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, and Verdana as described above.
For architectural drawings in particular, legibility is of the utmost importance. The font you choose should be easy to read and should clearly convey the information being presented. In addition to legibility, it’s also important to consider the overall aesthetic of the font, as it should complement the design of the drawing.
What font do most architects use?
There isn’t one specific font that is used by most architects.
Different architects and firms may have their own preferences when it comes to choosing fonts for their drawings and documents. In general, however, many architects prefer to stick to the more common fonts that are easy to read, professional-looking, and versatile.
Which font looks most like architectural lettering?
There are several fonts that are designed to look like architectural lettering, which is a style of lettering that is often used in technical drawings, such as plans and elevations. These fonts are designed to be easy to read and to clearly convey information, while also giving a sense of precision and professionalism.
Here are a few fonts that are designed to look like architectural lettering:
- Architext: Architext is a sans-serif font that is designed to look like architectural lettering. It has a clean, modern aesthetic and is easy to read.
- Technical: Technical is a sans-serif font that is designed to look like architectural lettering. It has a clean, crisp appearance and is easy to read at small sizes.
- Arial Narrow: Arial Narrow is a sans-serif font that is similar to Arial, but with a narrower width. It’s a good choice for architectural lettering because it’s easy to read and looks professional.
- Century Gothic: Century Gothic is a sans-serif font that is similar to Arial, but with a more modern aesthetic. It’s a good choice for architectural lettering because it’s easy to read and looks professional.
Which font is most aesthetically pleasing to the eye?
The most pleasing font to the eye is subjective and can vary from person to person. Different people have different preferences when it comes to font style, size, and color. Some people may find certain fonts more pleasing than others, depending on their personal preferences and the context in which the font is being used.
That being said, there are a few general principles that can make a font more appealing, for example:
- Legibility: A font that is easy to read is generally more pleasing to the eye because it allows the reader to easily understand the content.
- Aesthetic appeal: A font that is aesthetically pleasing can enhance the visual appeal of a document or design.
- Appropriateness: A font that is appropriate for the context in which it is being used is generally more pleasing to the eye. For example, a formal font may be more appropriate for a business document, while a playful font may be more suitable for a children’s book.
- Balance: Using a font that is balanced in terms of size and spacing can help make a document or design more visually appealing.
What font do architects use on blueprints?
A blueprint font is a type of font that is designed to look like the text and lines used in blueprints and technical drawings.
Blueprint fonts are characterized by their clean, precise lines and their technical, utilitarian appearance. They are often used in technical documents, such as plans and diagrams, to clearly convey information and to give a sense of precision and professionalism.
Blueprint fonts are typically sans-serif fonts, meaning they do not have decorative strokes or serifs at the ends of their letters. This gives them a clean, modern appearance that is well-suited to technical documents. Some common examples include Technical, Architext, and Arial Narrow. Not to mention the popular Flux Architect Font and NorB Architect font.
In addition to being used in technical documents, blueprint fonts can also be used for other design purposes, such as creating logos or website graphics. They can add a sense of precision and professionalism to any design project.
How do you hand write like an architect?
We have a whole article on this very topic here, but in short; to write like an architect, you will need to practice writing in a clear, legible, and precise manner. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Use a straight edge: An architect’s scale or ruler can be used to draw straight lines and make sure that your handwriting is aligned.
- Use a consistent handwriting style: Choose a handwriting style that is easy for you to read and write consistently. This will help make your handwriting legible and easy to understand.
- Use a pen or pencil with a fine tip: A pen or pencil with a fine tip will allow you to write with precision and make small, detailed marks.
- Practice writing letters and numbers: It is important to be able to write letters and numbers legibly, as these will be used in your drawings and notes.
- Take your time: Don’t rush your handwriting. It is important to take your time and focus on producing clean, clear lines and letters.
With practice, you can develop your own unique handwriting style that is both legible and professional.
For some further reading we recommend both “Just My Type: A Book About Fonts” by Simon Garfield and “Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students” by Ellen Lupton