Font Friday

Oldschool Grotesk

The geometric and grotesque sans-serif typeface Oldschool Grotesk on a mobile phone set in the heading, body text, pull quote and navigation.

Sans-serif typeface

by William Montrose, from Kilotype

Variable Font

2 axes (weight, width)

40 styles (instances)

10 weights: Air to Heavy
4 widths: Regular to Compressed

License for web & app usage

Single: from $ 60 (web),$ 120 (app)
Bundle: from $ 700 (web), $ 1,400 (app)

Best for

  • Headings (display text)
  • Long reading text (body text)
  • User Interfaces (functional text)

Specialty

A versatile, distinct grotesque typeface, that goes from a simple geometric feel to a more strict, and restrained appearance the narrower it gets.

My thoughts on Oldschool Grotesk

Oldschool Grotesk was designed by William Montrose, the co-founder of the German foundry Kilotype. This typeface I immediately fell in love with. Why? Because when I think of grotesque typefaces, one thing come to my mind: strict. But Oldschool Grotesk feels different, at least in the regular width. It is quite space consuming, even geometric. Nothing like Akzidenz Grotesk, for example. You can see this at the o or e. But the narrower it gets, the stricter, more reserved or rational it becomes.

light & beautiful set in Air. Geometric feel that becomes stricter and more restrained the narrower it gets, like here. But even more in All Caps!
That’s a diverse appearance. I love the airy Air weight! It will be super hard to find an application for this, but it’s just gorgeous.

You can observe this shift of moods in the example blow as well. The default width, and Oldschool Grotesk Compact work well for body text, and functional text in interesting UIs. Condensed and Compressed should only be used for large display text, though.

Sample text in Oldschool Grotesk Regular: A little body text is set in Oldschool Grotesk. Let’s see in how many lines this results. The feel of the typeface changes dramatically the narrower it gets. It looses its softness and friendliness, becomes more restrained and determined.
This seems friendlier
Sample text in Oldschool Grotesk Compact Regular: A little body text is set in Oldschool Grotesk. Let’s see in how many lines this results. The feel of the typeface changes dramatically the narrower it gets. It looses its softness and friendliness, becomes more restrained and determined.
This seems stricter

This vast design space is the super strength of Oldschool Grotesk. It makes the typeface very versatile, working on posters and in app designs. The only thing that might be missing are italics. But I could live with that for most projects. Make sure to check out the beautiful Oldschool Grotesk Microsite to see the typeface with all its variable superpowers in action.

Stylistic Alternates for G, r and a, and compact umlauts
The characteristic G without the bar can be turned into a less cool one. And with compact umlauts my surname (Schöndorfer) would be even prettier.

What do you think? Is Oldschool Grotesk something for an upcoming project? Tell me in the comments below!

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6 Comments

  1. OldSchool Grotesk is in your veins, young modern man! OSG, besides lacking Italics, owns many usable faces to employ in commercial projects. It promises to have a Roboto or even Times New Roman reputation but in its own – grotesque league.
    Condensed Heavy – for Disney cartoons, Regular Compact is a rather clinique, for the health and/or pharmacy industry, Compact Air/Thin is loveable feminine, while Compressed is excellent for poster design games… Width variables are plentiful options for one whole brand identity too. Favorite character? G!
    I don’t love grotesques but this one is very useful!

  2. Nice one! The Condensed reminds me a lot to Futura schmalfett with a touch of Helvetica Condensed.

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