Monotype Grotesque

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Category Sans-serif
Classification Realist sans-serif
Designer(s) Frank Hinman Pierpont
Foundry Monotype Corporation
Date released 1926
Re-issuing foundries Stephenson Blake, Adobe Type, Linotype

Monotype Grotesque is a realist sans-serif typeface designed by Frank Hinman Pierpont (1860–1937) and released by the Monotype foundry in or by 1926. It is a large family of fonts, including very bold, condensed and extended designs. Like many early sans-serif designs, it is strongly irregular, with a design that adapts to suit to each width and style at the expense of consistency.[1][2][3]

Pierpont based his design for Monotype Grotesque on Ideal, an earlier more idiosyncratic sans-serif by the H. Berthold AG foundry and William Thorowgood's 1832 face titled "Grotesque." Uppercase characters are of near equal width, the G has a spur in some weights, and the M in the non-condensed weights is square. The lowercase characters a, e, g, and t follow the model of twentieth-century English romans.

Though Monotype Grotesque never achieved the popularity of Akzidenz Grotesk, or its own contemporaries Futura and Gill Sans which came to overshadow it in the 1930s, it remained a steady seller through the twentieth century with a revival of interest after the war, and is found in early twentieth century avant-garde printing from western and central Europe.[4]

OpenType version supports ISO Adobe 2 (Adobe Western 2) character set.

Arial is designed based on Monotype Grotesque.

Monotype Grotesque Display[edit]

It is a variant with altered designs. The family consists of Bold Condensed and Bold Extended fonts.

Digital version was sold by Linotype.

Adobe version[edit]

This version consists only fonts not in the Monotype Grotesque Display family.

Classic Grotesque[edit]

It is a variant designed by Rod McDonald. The design combines the features in Venus and Ideal Grotesk font families. Alternate characters are also added.[5][6] The development was originally approved in 2008, and lasted four years.[7][8]

The font family includes 14 fonts in 7 weights and one width, with a complementary italic. OpenType features include numerators/denominators, fractions, ligatures, lining/old style/proportional and tabular figures, superscript, small capitals, stylistic alternates, stylistic sets 1 and 2 (Roman fonts only).

OpenType Pro version supports all western European, most central European and many eastern European languages.


  • Friedl, Frederich, Nicholas Ott and Bernard Stein. Typography: An Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Through History. Black Dog & Leventhal: 1998. ISBN 1-57912-023-7.
  • Jaspert, Berry and Johnson. Encyclopaedia of Type Faces. Cassell Paperback, London; 2001. ISBN 1-84188-139-2
  • Macmillan, Neil. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. ISBN 0-300-11151-7.

External links[edit]

Classic Grotesque[edit]