Metropolis – Typeface and Language


  •  Masthead: Metropolis, like any other publication, is best identified by its masthead. What I love about this iconic text image, is that it reminds me of a bold, towering skyscraper. Sans-serif, it commands attention and draws the reader into what exactly a metropolis is – something that is modern, all-encompassing and dense.

Photo 1

  • Headlines: The headlines in the magazines vary depending on the size of the article. In the well, the feature headlines are both sans-serif and serif, with rather thin weights. The text size is by far the largest on the page, but it is not the most dense nor does it keep your eye for too long. Front of book, the section heads are in all caps and the headlines are small, sans-serif font underneath them. It’s very clean. Photo 3
  • Body Copy: Feature body copy is serif text. On the first page of each feature, it is heavier and larger, but moves to around 10-12 point font when the story continues.
  • Cutlines: These are always small, sans-serif text that do not demand attention. The cutlines are always by an image in a box-like shape. Photo 7
  • Display Text: Bold, big and serif fonts. The display text is usually what grabs my attention the most on the page. Photo 6

It is evident that the magazine seeks to continue its sleek, modern design through its use of typefaces. In design publications, it’s usually all about the pictures. But in Metropolis, you have a solid mixture of big, eye-catching photos with text that subtly supports them and this makes it easier to give attention to what is in color as well.


Metropolis headlines are always short and thrive on clarity. Design is a very difficult thing to discuss. Having easy-to-understand headlines is key in enticing the reader to learn more. Metropolis usually doesn’t use decks or subheads but instead carries the copy straight through, which can lead to rather long articles. The tone of voice is rather design-elitest. While clear and informative, it still expects the reader to know and understand a bit about the field before beginning.

Outside of body copy, words are used to inform the reader what is immediately important to know –Photo 5 these are the phrases and facts that are thought to truly make an impact. These sections are always succinct, clear to understand but are shaped in square text boxes to suggest cohesiveness and pull the reader from the body text. They are never attributed but instead are obvious that the author of the article provided them.

As mentioned in typeface, the cutlines and captions are shaped in boxes, very small font and use even heavier-design language when describing a product or building.

Promos and refers are short and conversational (meaning fun to read) yet still reply on a very obvious design discourse.

And as mentioned before, the section heads vary from straightforward to creative mini subheads (very mini) MATERIALS, ILLUMINATED CONCEPTS, IN DEVELOPMENT, IN PRODUCTION, etc. For example, Sustainability – Taking a Strand; Supply Chain – On a Mission; Carpets – Code
Language. Photo 8 Photo 9

To learn more check out this redesign article here.