What font is used in Barbara Kruger’s art?

Barbara Kruger - Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989
Barbara Kruger – Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989

Introduction

Barbara Kruger’s art is easily one of the most recognizable on the planet. Characterized by the bold white Futura1 Oblique and sometimes caps locked sans serif, her artwork forces audiences to take a hard look at the institutions that she satirizes. Both direct and political, her art is designed to question the modern political and democratic process while challenging societal notions of sexism, consumerism and corruption.

Barbara Kruger - I shop therefore I am, 1987 screenprint on vinyl 125 x 125 cm
Barbara Kruger – I shop therefore I am, 1987, screenprint on vinyl, 125 x 125 cm

Barbara Kruger - Untitled (I shop therefore I am), 1987. Photographic silkscreen on vinyl; 111 5/8 in x 113 1/4 in x 2 1/2 in (283.53 cm x 287.65 cm x 6.35 cm)
Barbara Kruger – I shop therefore I am, 1987, photographic silkscreen on vinyl, 283.53 cm x 287.65 cm x 6.35 cm, 111 5/8 in x 113 1/4 in x 2 1/2 in

Barbara Kruger - We don't need another hero, 1985
Barbara Kruger – We don’t need another hero, 1985

Barbara Kruger - Untitled (Money can buy you love), 1985
Barbara Kruger – Untitled (Money can buy you love), 1985

Barbara Kruger - Talk Is Cheap, 1985
Barbara Kruger – Talk Is Cheap, 1985

How Kruger influenced culture

Thanks to powerful slogans like “Money can buy you love”, as well as “I shop therefore I am”, her artwork can be found all over the globe in famous art spaces and on the surfaces and roofs of certain buildings. Today, her iconoclastic controversies have become so popular with contemporary audiences, much more than they were all those years when she started out. As a result, her work has been replicated hundreds of times by musicians and modern brands, most notably currently being the distinguished skate brand known as Supreme.

Barbara Kruger - MTA NYC Metro Card - photo Ebay:haveyouhrd
Barbara Kruger-designed MetroCards for MTA New York
Photo: haveyouhrd/ebay.com

Barbara Kruger - Sunglasses by Freeway Eyewear and ForYourArt
Barbara Kruger – Sunglasses by Freeway Eyewear and ForYourArt, benefitting national arts organizations including the Art Production Fund, the Hammer Museum, LACMA
Photo: Give Good Art/givegoodart.com

Barbara Kruger - black Sunglasses by Freeway Eyewear
Barbara Kruger – Sunglasses by Freeway Eyewear
Photo: Artware Editions/artwareeditions.com

Barbara Kruger - Untitled (Skate), 2017, Coleman/LES Skate Park Installation, under the Manhattan Bridge, New York
Barbara Kruger – Untitled (Skate), 2017, Coleman/LES Skate Park Installation, under the Manhattan Bridge, New York
Photo: Volcom/volcom.com

Barbara Kruger - Untitled (Don't be a jerk), billboard, Melbourne, Australia, 1996
Barbara Kruger – Untitled (Don’t be a jerk), billboard, Melbourne, Australia, 1996

Barbara Kruger's work on the exterior of the Beverly Center, 2017
Barbara Kruger’s work on the exterior of the Beverly Center, 2017
Photo: Beverly Center/beverlycenter.com

What font is used in Barbara Kruger’s art?

As stated earlier, Barbara primarily uses slogans written in oblique Futura bold type or sans serif in caps lock to communicate her messages. The backgrounds against which she embellishes her phrases are legible and usually accompanied by a color palette of reds, blacks and whites.

Barbara Kruger - Untitled (Let Go), 2004
Barbara Kruger – Untitled (Let Go), 2004

Barbara Kruger - Untitled (Beneath You), 2015
Barbara Kruger – Untitled (Beneath You), 2015

What makes her style unique?

Most of the slogans are pasted across black and white photographs derived from mid-century magazines. Like other pop artists that were successful before her, such as Andy Warhol, Kruger has managed to develop a style that is distinctly hers. This probably explains why it has been so easy for her style to be recreated beyond galleries to become included in both mainstream and digital culture.

Barbara Kruger at Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2014
Barbara Kruger at Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2014
Photo: Christian Hinz/kunsthaus-bregenz.at

Barbara Kruger at Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2014
Barbara Kruger at Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2014
Photo: Christian Hinz/kunsthaus-bregenz.at

Barbara Kruger at Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2014
Barbara Kruger at Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2014
Photo: Christian Hinz/kunsthaus-bregenz.at

Barbara Kruger at Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2014
Barbara Kruger at Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2014
Photo: Christian Hinz/kunsthaus-bregenz.at

What makes her work so powerful

In juxtaposing phrases with black and white photography, Kruger borrows from her experience in advertising and graphic design to disrupt the voice of today’s mass media. She delivers her messages directly to her audience as she often uses phrases like ’we’ and ’you’ to discuss central issues in society. Because of her bold use of fonts and her short but powerful slogans, the audience never ignores her work.

Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers, 2017
Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers, 2017
Photo: Timo Ohler/spruethmagers.com

Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers, 2017
Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers, 2017
Photo: Timo Ohler/spruethmagers.com

Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers, 2017
Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers, 2017
Photo: Timo Ohler/spruethmagers.com

Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers, 2017
Barbara Kruger at Sprüth Magers, 2017
Photo: Timo Ohler/spruethmagers.com

About the artist

Barbara began making her ground-breaking artwork during the 1970s after a long career in the magazine industry as a designer and picture editor. After her professional experience working in an industry that is all about perfection and consumerism, Kruger was inspired to create art that would question these points of view. Aside from being featured in some of the top galleries in the world, her work has also been printed on several mediums, including films and tote bags, as well as interior work and immersive films.

Barbara Kurger - Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2010
Barbara Kruger at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2010
Photo: Norbert Miguletz/schirn.de

Barbara Kurger - Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2010, photo Norbert Miguletz
Barbara Kruger at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2010
Photo: Norbert Miguletz/schirn.de

Barbara Kruger - Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2012
Barbara Kruger at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2012
Photo: Hirshhorn Museum/hirshhorn.si.edu

Barbara Kruger - Modern Art Oxford, 2014
Barbara Kruger at Modern Art Oxford, 2014
Photo: Modern Art Oxford/modernartoxford.org.uk

Barbara Kruger at Museet for Religiøs Kunst, 2017
Barbara Kruger at Museet for Religiøs Kunst, Lemvig, Dänemark, 2017
Photo: Henrik Vinther Krogh/mfrk.dk

All images by Barbara Kruger/spruethmagers.com unless otherwise noted.

Videos: Barbara Kruger speaks about her work

6min 14sec

By the National Gallery of Art, Washington

3min 34sec

By the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

Related works

Related readings

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futura_(typeface)
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