Neutraface Font Around Campus

NC State University has a brand to uphold and part of that brand is the types of fonts and typefaces that the university approves of and uses. The primary typeface for NCSU is Univers, but they also use Glypha as a secondary typeface and Arial as a substitute font. However, if you look around campus you might notice a few additional typefaces, one of those being Neutraface on the signage of several of the building around campus including Broughton and Riddick hall.

The typeface Neutraface is a geometric san-serif typeface that was designed by Christian Schwartz and released in 2002 and it has a very modern feel being called “the most typographically complete geometric sans serif family ever” by Schwartz. Despite that and despite the fact that Neutraface was designed to encapsulate the ideas of influential modernist architect Richard Neuta, I think that the typeface doesn’t look modern at all and really appears dated and vintage on the building fronts. The buildings that Neutra designed were very geometrical and symmetrical like Riddick and Broughton but they have very different styles and feelings that are associated with them. I think that maybe because the fronts of the Riddick and Broughton are very grey and adorned with stone reliefs, and the Neutraface is made of metal it all gives off a very industrial feeling that heavily reminds me of the typefaces, structures, and sculptures of the Soviet era. I think that its really interesting that the backdrop of a modern font that is made to exemplify a modern designer can end up conjuring up images of something that is the complete opposite.

До недавних пор на пересечении Ленинского проспекта и улицы Кравченко стояла одна конструкция, на протяжении своего существования неоднократно менявшая облик.…‘Aeroflot’ the national airline of the USSR, now Russia classic travel promotional poster from 1961Интересные и редкие ретро-фотографии

Images courtesy of Sazikov from


Discussion — One Response

  • Katelyn Watkins 04/27/2018 on 8:38 PM

    This is quite interesting, Brandon. I’ve never noticed the font on these buildings before, which is somewhat disappointing to my own observational skills seeing as how I work 10 hours a week in Broughton Hall. I’ve done so for two years now. I’ve always thought that Riddick and Broughton had a very vintage appeal to them, but find it to be very sedimentary. Similar to the way that sedimentary rocks form, layer upon layer, gradually building over time, these buildings have accumulated varying facets over the years that speak of the evolving times. If you go inside of Broughton, you will find that the bathrooms feel very 1960s: black and white checker-tiled floors, bright, teal walls, trims, and stalls. Even the windows in the bathrooms appear to be older than the windows currently out front (stained, faded, and trimmed in smaller squares instead of long rectangles). Then, traverse through the winding halls and you will find that some large rooms house cubicles that look straight out of the 90s, while others have fancy “doorbicles” (the term that everyone there uses) with large monitors and screens on the walls to display media during presentations. The winding halls themselves speak of changing times as they lead to several different wings added at different points in time. A kitchen with equipment and cabinets from the early 2000s is my choice location for toasting pop tarts in the morning. An old brick wall, most likely original to the construction of the building, that has been painted over with a bright, modern mural is my choice location for taking photos with my co-workers. I had never thought about any of this before until reading your post, and find it all very interesting. From now on, I will be looking out for more of these sedimentary factors that mark the history of the building in my day-to-day work environment.

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