Carly Fiorina’s Futura’s so light, she’s gotta wear shades


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Now that Carly Fiorina has won the GOP primary race for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Barbara Boxer, it’s time to take a good, hard look at the candidate’s fashion sense -- fontwise, anyway.

In TV ads -- and on Fiorina’s campaign website -- her first name, rendered in a thin, sans-serif font, serves as the logo, and it was noticeable and just familiar enough that after only a few airings, I began to wonder aloud what the typeface was, and where I might have seen it before.


Tuesday, I finally got around to uploading a jpeg of the logo to WhatTheFont!’s automatic analyzer, which offered me 38 possible matches, many with only slight variations. My best guess from the options was a font called Futura TS XLight from the TypeShop Collection. But, to be sure, I posted it to a forum where all kinds of font folk freely offered their expert opinions, and within just a few hours, I had an answer.

‘It is a Futura, but it looks like Adobe’s Futura Light,’ was the response I received. (And, really, who am I to argue with someone who posts to the forum using the name Eyehawk?)

Wikipedia describes the Futura typeface as having ‘an appearance of efficiency and forwardness’ -- surely the kind of image the former chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard wants to project in her senatorial bid.

Then again, maybe it’s simply force of habit from her old job. A file uploaded to the website in 2008 appears to be an HP branding standards document, and if it’s legitimate, it offers an excruciating level of detail on the appearance of photos, page layouts and, yes, typefaces used by the company.

‘Our one and only typeface is HP Futura,’ begins the typography section. ‘No other font is as simple or as versatile.’ Later, the document stipulates that ‘HP Futura Light is preferred for large font sizes and positioning statements.’

And if the logo for your U.S. Senate campaign doesn’t qualify as a ‘position statement,’ what does?


-- Adam Tschorn

The Character Issue