Monthly Archives: April 2014

Trouble in Gotham

The Gotham fontWe deal with a lot of visual language here at New Ground. Design, as you know and as we’ve stated ad infinitum, is all simply a way to communicate beauty, engagement and logic. We also deal with a lot of written language here. In an ideal world, these two languages are mutually intelligible like British English and American English.

(though I don’t see a situation where I’ll be using “chuffed” anytime soon.)

Fonts, or typefaces, are a strange place where the relationship between text and design merge. In the last post, we talked about how everything is designed and how infrequently most of us notice that fact. Fonts are one of those unnoticed bits of design.

To put it in perspective, I was reading about the “divorce” of two designers behind one of the most famous fonts, Gotham. The pricetag on this split is around $20 million and it’s full of intrigue, infighting and intellectual property rights. It’s a good read but, more importantly, it points to the power and influence that the fonts we use can have over us—and others.

From the clean lines of helvetica to the résumé-worthiness of times new roman to your aunt’s obsession with emailing in comic sans (because it’s “fun!”), typeface is a big part of how we consume media. Fonts bring new meaning to one of your parents’ favorite phrases when you were a kid, “It’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it.”