“Gotham is one hell of a typeface. Its Os are round, its capital letters sturdy and square, and it has the simplicity of a geometric sans without feeling clinical,” Joshua Brustein reports for Businessweek. “The inspiration for Gotham is the lettering on signs at the Port Authority, manly works using ‘the type of letter that an engineer would make,’ according to Tobias Frere-Jones, who is widely credited with designing the font for GQ magazine in 2000. Critics have praised Gotham as blue collar, nostalgic yet ‘exquisitely contemporary,’ and ‘simply self evident.'”
“It’s also ubiquitous. Gotham has appeared on Netflix envelopes, Coca-Cola cans, and in the Saturday Night Live logo. It was on display at the Museum of Modern Art from 2011 to 2012 and continues to be part of the museum’s permanent collection,” Brustein reports. “Among those who draw letters for a living, Gotham is most notable for being the crowning achievement of two of the leaders of their tribe, Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler. The two men seemed to be on parallel paths since the summer of 1970, when they were both born in New York. Hoefler and Frere-Jones were already prominent designers when they began operating as Hoefler&Frere-Jones in 1999, having decided to join forces instead of continuing their race to be type design’s top boy wonder. Each would serve as an editor for the other, and they would combine their efforts to promote the work they did together.”
“For 15 years, Frere-Jones and Hoefler seemed charmed. They made typefaces that rendered the stock charts in the Wall Street Journal readable and helped Martha Stewart sell cookbooks. They created an alphabet for the New York Jets, based on the team’s logo. And they saw their lettering chiseled into stone as part of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. Last year, the duo won the AIGA Medal, the profession’s highest award. It seemed to be one of those rare situations whereby two successful soloists had combined to make an even better supergroup,” Brustein reports. “Not quite. In January, Frere-Jones filed a lawsuit against Hoefler, saying that their company was not actually a partnership, but a long con in which Hoefler had tricked him into signing over the rights to all of his work, cheating Frere-Jones out of his half of the business.”
Tons more in the full article here.
Destroyed typeface, thrown into the Thames a century ago, gets a second life – December 26, 2013