Basic Commercial is a font based on historical designs from the hot metal typeface era. It first appeared around 1900, and was created by type designers whose names have not been recorded but whose skills cannot be overlooked. This typeface’s design has been popular among groups and movements as diverse as the Bauhaus, Dadaism, and the masters of Swiss/International-Style typography. It influenced for a variety of later grotesque fonts, such as Helvetica and Univers.
Basic Commercial was distributed for many years in the United States under the name Standard Series. The typeface worked its way into many aspects of daily life and culture; for instance, it became the face chosen for use in the New York City subway system’s signage.
The Basic Commercial’s font family members have a clear and objective design. Their forms exhibit almost nothing unusual, but remain both lively and legible nonetheless. Perhaps for this reason, Basic Commercial’s design has been popular with graphic designers for decades.
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