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Modular sans-serif designs are a common form of industrial lettering. Painted on brick or cast in iron these letters evoke hard work and ingenuity. A study quality runs through them, the result of craftsmanship, materials, and the need for legibility under awful conditions. Industrial letters are often modular because they were designed by engineers and machinists, not type designers. Lettering of the constructivist graphic movement was similar. Theo van Doesburg, Alexander Rodchenko, and the Stenberg brothers designed letters with few curves and repetitive forms to herald the age of great machines.
Downturn pays homage to those constructed letters. Five weights of capitals and small capitals provide a commanding range suited for headlines, advertisements, or packaging.