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. Public spaces are teeming with handmade sans serifs that share the same underlying structure, an engineer's idea of "basic lettering" that transcends both the characteristics of their materials and the mannerisms of their craftsmen. These are the cast bronze numbers outside office buildings that speak with authority, and the engravings on cornerstones whose neutral and equable style defies the passage of time. They're the matter-of-fact neon signs that announce liquor stores and pharmacies, and the proprietors' names painted majestically on the sides of trucks. These letters are straightforward and non-negotiable, yet possessed of great personality, and always expertly made. And although designers have lived with them for half a century, they remarkably went unrevived until 2000, when Hoefler & Frere-Jones introduced Gotham.
Gotham is that rarest of designs, the new typeface that somehow feels 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 — a lowercase, italics, and a comprehensive range of weights — enhances these forms' plainspokenness with a welcome sophistication, and brings a broad range of expressive voices to the Gotham family.
Gotham's watchword is practicality, an agenda we've pursued even more ardently with 44 new styles of Gotham for text, headlines, and everything in between.
Designers asked if Gotham could be reimagined as a text face, and we listened. Introducing Gotham Narrow, a compact variation on the style that's specially engineered for text sizes. Though its narrow proportions make it a perfect fit for the cramped confines of the text column, Gotham Narrow retains all of Gotham's personality: it's designed to be space-efficient, not squeezed.
With the silhouette of a classic headline face, Gotham Extra Narrow rounds out the Gotham family with a collection of sixteen fonts for both text and display. Its slender proportions make Gotham Extra Narrow especially useful online — both in narrow columns and at small sizes — and its ample character set recommends the family to all kinds of information-heavy design.
Newly expanded is Gotham Condensed, now home to nine different weights from Thin to Ultra. Rare among condensed typefaces, Gotham Condensed offers italics in every weight, along with rarefied features like tabular figures, fractions, super- and subscripts, extended monetary symbols, and the full Latin-X® range of accents.