Gotham. What letters look like.

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 designed 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.

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. 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 Web fonts

Gotham ScreenSmart is an adaptation of the family specifically engineered for the screen, and available for use on the web. 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.


The Gotham typeface was designed by Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones in 2000. A sans serif that shares many attributes of typography’s ‘geometric’ genus, Gotham was inspired by a style of bold capital letters that evolved outside the typographic tradition in the early twentieth century, common to lithographed posters, enamel signs, and commercial facades throughout New York City. First appearing in the pages of GQ magazine in 2001, Gotham gained international attention in 2007 when it was adopted by the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. One of the most popular and influential typefaces of our time, Gotham is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Designed by

Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones

With contributions from

Jesse Ragan; Sara Soskolne, Andy Clymer

Additional material by

Kevin Dresser, Wendy Ellerton, Malou Verlomme, Ksenya Samarskaya, Aoife Mooney, Erin McLaughlin, Colin M. Ford


Special thanks to Arem Duplessis and Paul Martinez, Gerry Leonidas, Maxim Zhukov, and Ilya Ruderman

Advance copies of Gotham were circulated under the name GQ Sans. These fonts have been replaced by the Gotham 1, Gotham 2, and Gotham Condensed 1 packages. Advance copies of Gotham Narrow were circulated under the working title Gotham Seminarrow. These fonts have been replaced by the Gotham Narrow Bundle. Gotham® is a registered trademark of Hoefler&Co.