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