Gotham. What letters look like.
Every designer has admired the no-nonsense lettering of the American vernacular, those letters of paint, plaster, neon, glass and steel that figure so prominently in the urban landscape. From these humble beginnings comes Gotham, a hard-working typeface for the ages.
Gotham celebrates the attractive and unassuming lettering of the city. New York is teeming with such letters, handmade sans serifs that share a common underlying structure, an engineer’s idea of “basic lettering” that transcends both the characteristics of their materials and the mannerisms of their makers. These are the cast bronze numbers that give office doorways their authority, and the markings on cornerstones whose neutral and equable style defies the passage of time. They’re the matter-of-fact neon signs that emblazon liquor stores and pharmacies, and the names of proprietors plainly painted on delivery trucks. These letters are straightforward and non-negotiable, yet possessed of great personality, and often expertly made. And although designers have lived with them for more than half a century, they remarkably went unrevived until 2000, when we introduced Gotham.
Gotham is that rarest of designs, the new typeface that feels somehow familiar. From the lettering that inspired it, Gotham inherited an honest tone that’s assertive but never imposing, friendly but never folksy, confident but never aloof. The inclusion of so many original ingredients without historical precedent — a lowercase, italics, a comprehensive range of weights and widths, and a character set that transcends the Latin alphabet — enhances these forms’ plainspokenness with a welcome sophistication, and brings a broad range of expressive voices to the Gotham family.
Now in Four Widths
Designers asked if Gotham could take on new typographic roles, and we listened. Gotham Narrow reimagines Gotham as a space-efficient text face, handily succeeding in the confines of the narrow text column without looking squeezed. With the silhouette of a classic headline series, Gotham Extra Narrow is a practical choice for sizes both large and small, with an ample character set that recommends it to information-dense environments. The newly-expanded Gotham Condensed features nine weights from Thin to Ultra, including a number of features unusual in condensed fonts, starting with matching italics in every weight.
Gotham ScreenSmart: High Performance Webfonts
Gotham ScreenSmart is an adaptation of the family specifically engineered for the screen, and available for use on the web through Cloud.typography. To ensure outstanding rendering on screen at sizes as small as nine pixels, we carefully adjusted the fonts’ fit, color, and proportions, and orchestrated their progression of weights so that each style is distinctly different from its neighbors. Like all ScreenSmart fonts, Gotham ScreenSmart is equipped with a set of detailed instructions called “hints,” which tell its outlines how to adapt themselves to pixel grids at different point sizes, to ensure that the fonts always retain both their legibility and their personality.