BellTopo Sans

We all love a bit of retro flair on our maps, don’t we? If you agree, then BellTopo Sans might be what you’re looking for. Designed by Sarah Bell, it’s a sans-serif typeface for map labels, inspired by old USGS maps:

When you see this typeface that I’m referring to on these old beautiful maps, you may think it is nothing special. It’s simple. It might even be very similar to a common font that you already know. Perhaps you’re thinking, “Why didn’t she use that font?” But for me, the beauty of this typeface that I see on old USGS maps exists within its subtle differences.

I like BellTopo Sans because, unlike many modern fonts, it is a little rough around the edges — it has character. Look at that upper-case R and that lower-case g; just look at them.

The words 'Thüringen', 'Thüringer Wald', and 'Grosser Inselsberg (916m) displayed using different variations of the font BellTopo Sans.

BellTopo Sans works best in medium font sizes and with a bit of character spacing.