Get to Know MoMA’s New Digital Font Collection

Some exciting news for typography geeks: Following hot on the heels of last year’s acquisition of the “@” symbol, MoMA has acquired 23 digital fonts for their Architecture and Design collection. “Some are of everyday use, like Verdana; others are familiar characters in our world, like Gotham, which was used in President Obama’s election campaign, or OCR-A, which we can find at the bottom of any product’s bar code; and others are still less common, but exquisitely resonant, like Walker or Template Gothic,” explains Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design. “We paid particular attention to the synthesis of goals, means, and elegance that we always seek in modern design.”

While Max Miedinger’s 36-point Helvetica Bold (1956) was previously the only typeface in MoMA’s collection, the museum plans to grow their offerings to document the past century. Click through to view the 23 newly-acquired typefaces, which will be on view starting March 2 in MoMA’s Architecture and Design galleries, as part of a collection show entitled Standard Deviations; Prototypes, Archetypes, and Families in Contemporary Design.

American Type Founders, OCR-A (1966)

This font — primarily used in bar codes — was designed to be perfectly readable by computers. OCR stands for “optical character recognition.”