Tempo (typeface)

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Tempo Medium Italic in a specimen sheet.

Tempo is a 1930 sans-serif typeface designed by R. Hunter Middleton for the Ludlow Typograph company.[1] Tempo is a geometric sans design, closely copying Futura which had attracted considerable attention in the United States. Unlike Futura, however, it has a "dynamic" true italic with foot serifs suggesting handwriting, and optional swash capitals.[2]

Tempo was expanded to a large family released over the 1930s and 40s, that has not been completely digitised.[3] It included the shadow-form display typeface Umbra, which has often been released separately.[4] Middleton also designed a slab-serif typeface in similar style, Karnak, around the same time.[5]

Tempo's italic was an influence on that of the popular 2002 geometric sans-serif family Neutraface, designed by Christian Schwartz.[6][7][8]


  1. ^ Allan Haley (15 September 1992). Typographic Milestones. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 117–120. ISBN 978-0-471-28894-7.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Christian. "Back with a flourish #5. Christian Schwartz on swaggering swashes". Eye. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  3. ^ Korwin, Josh. "The Ludlow: Typographic Influence, 1931–1962". Three Steps Ahead. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  4. ^ Devroye, Luc. "R. Hunter Middleton". Type Design Information. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  5. ^ Neil Macmillan (2006). An A-Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press. p. 135. ISBN 0-300-11151-7.
  6. ^ Schwartz, Christian. "Neutraface". www.christianschwartz.com. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  7. ^ Berry, John D. (2006). Dot-font: Talking About Fonts (1st ed.). New York: Mark Batty Publisher. pp. 117–121. ISBN 0-9772827-0-8.
  8. ^ "The Neutra Legacy". House Industries. Retrieved October 2, 2011.

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