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March 21st, 2019

The Font of The Decade: GOTHAM

Design has many assets that can be drawn upon to visually communicate to users. While color, texture, photo styles and UX all have their place, probably none so subtly communicate the feel of the target than fonts that are chosen to represent it. And no font has had quite the 10-year ubiquitous run that the Gotham typeface family has had.


Gotham was conceived in the early 2000s, when GQ magazine hired New York City-based type foundry Hoefler & Frere-Jones to create a new typeface for use in their publication. Given the instructions to create a geometric san-serif that felt “masculine, new, and fresh,” designer Tobias Frere-Jones drew influences from building signage seen around the city. Using seemingly plain, engineering-based lettering from New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal as the design’s starting point, a typeface was born.



In 2002, GQ’s exclusive license expired and the font was released for public use. Spreading quickly, it has been featured in ad campaigns, corporate logos, advertising for brands like Taco Bell, DC Comics, Starbucks, and most famously, the 2008 presidential campaign for Barack Obama.



Due to its popularity and bold “every-man-American” feel, a Rounded variant was created in 2005. A few years later, Narrow and Extra Narrow options were introduced. 


While its success is undeniable, we at Kinetic are always looking to match the perfect fonts to our clients’ needs, but don’t be surprised if, for your next project, we reach for what USA Today has declared the font of the decade, Gotham.

If you are looking for more fonts for commercial use, click here.