Gotham font is classified as a geometric sans-serif. Geometric refers to a typeface because they have circles, triangles and straight lines similar to the core shapes in geometry. They are typically sans-serif fonts, but if you try to set a rule that they are, you will certainly find a newly designed typeface that is geometric serif in nature. As far as fonts go, Gotham is a fairly recent creation, appearing first in 2000.
According to Google, geometric typefaces were popular in the early 1900s and made a comeback in the 1970s and 80s. Geometric sans-serifs started in 1920s Germany with font designers Jakob Erbar and Herbert Bayer.
Bayer worked on Universal Typeface, which would later be digitized into Architype Bayer. Erbar released the font by his last name around 1925. Later, in 1927,Paul Renner created Futura and received accolades for the creation.
The font style remained popular throughout the 20s and 30s and have come back in popularity at various times as styles evolve and also circle back to give a nod to designs of yesteryear.
You can download Gotham fonts tend to be commercial fonts. You may be able to download free versions but to license for a business or something you’ll make a profit on, you’ll likely need to upgrade to a standard license at minimum. When in doubt, contact the creator to see how you can gain the needed rights to use the font on printed or digital material. Most font creators will not let you repackage their fonts as part of a font set.
What Does Gotham Font Imply?
The angles and straight lines of the gotham font make it well suited for modern designs. Gotham was developed for professional uses and thus comes in a large family of options, including different widths, weights and both straight and rounded versions. The straight versions work best for digital designs.
While you can use the font for headlines or body text, it works best in the heavier weights as a header. Currently, Gotham font is owned and sold by Hoefler&Co., which is a font design studio in Woburn, Massachusetts. The company has only been in existence since 1989, so the fonts available today are a bit different than what was designed in the 1920s.
Gotham font has straighter lines and harsher edges. It works particularly well on digital creations. The foundry also offers Gotham Rounded with a much heavier stroke that may be better suited for posters, billboards and other large printed projects.
Mechanics of Gotham Font
The capital letters have an architectural look, giving it some interesting structure and power. The Gotham family comes in four different widths, but each width has eight weights from Thin to Ultra and is available in italic or Roman style. Because the font is consistent with spacing no matter what weight you choose, you can easily pair different weights and widths for a unique but consistent appearance.
You could also use the font alongside something similar with distinct lettering differences, such as Poppin. Look for a font that has geometric properties but is a bit more toward the sans-serif standard look for the body text, for example.
Gotham font comes with different number types including:
- Lining Figures
- Tabular Figures
- Fractions and
- Super and Subscripts
One thing a lot of designers love about Gotham font is that it will automatically fix spacing issues as you create things, so that everything appears in the best way possible before you make any adjustments of your own.
The company recommends you use their automated kerning because the font is already spaced and kerned to look its best in most designs. You can always make tweaks later if something seems off, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how evenly placed letters are in this font.
On their website, Hoefler&Co. explains why optical kerning isn’t a good option for this font. They have already created visual decisions on pairings that the optical kerning mode sometimes gets wrong.
Gotham also supports 564 different languages, including:
No matter where your client lives or what language you’re creating a design in, you’ll likely find just what you need in this font family.
Alternatives to Gotham Font
Although we love Gotham, there are a few drawbacks, including the ongoing licensing costs and the way some of the rounded letters appear on smaller digital screens. There are a few useful geometric san-serif fonts you can turn to for a lower price point and that will still give you the same tone and personality as Gotham.
Figtree is available free from Google Fonts and is perfect for digital use. It has a similar look to Gotham but some of the letters are more rounded, such as the capital “G.”
Available via Google or Adobe, Raleway has a similar look to Gotham but the letters are much thinner. Keep in mind, however, that you can utilize different weights to achieve the overall look you want.
Monserrat looks almost exactly the same as Gotham at first glance, but digging deeper you’ll notice some minor differences, such as shorter letters and less strokes to the capitals. It’s also a Google font so it works perfectly for websites, translating to nearly any machine flawlessly.
Gotham font pairs well with heavier serif fonts. The foundry suggests Quarto or Tungsten. However, you could also turn to simple and popular fonts such as Times New Roman and still get a very nice mix between geometric and serif or even sans-serif fonts for a unique look.
Where It’s Found/Used
Gotham is a popular headline. It’s been used far more frequently than you might think. Some popular publications and companies utilizing this font include:
- Taco Bell
- Port Authority Bus Terminal
- Cartoon Network
- Paramount Global
- Discovery, Inc.
You’ll often find it in logos, signs and headers.
How Do People Perceive Gotham?
Gotham is more than a font — it’s a design instantly recognizable by many. When looking at this sans serif typeface, you’ll see it captures modernity and clarity. People see Gotham and often feel a sense of familiarity like they’ve seen it before — and they likely have. With many large-name brands using this font in their logos, people may already trust your brand if you use it.
The font has also come across countless advertisements and digital platforms, building a reputation for timelessness. Its clean lines and well-balanced structure make it easy to read, drawing readers into its content. Moreover, Gotham exudes confidence without being too bold or overpowering.
Many find the font versatile. It may fit perfectly in formal settings like corporate reports or casual platforms like social media. Its neutrality also allows it to blend in various contexts, making it a go-to choice for designers aiming for a professional look. In short, people perceive Gotham as a reliable, modern, clear font that communicates messages with the utmost clarity.
Best Font Pairings With Gotham
If you plan to make Gotham part of your brand’s identity, you may want to choose a secondary font to go with it. Doing so enhances the appeal and readability of a design. Yet, choosing a font that goes well with it is important.
With Gotham’s clean and neutral design, it makes for a flexible font to complement practically any typeface. Here are some of the best font pairings with Gotham that designers frequently use.
A classic serif, Orpheus offers a touch of elegance when paired with Gotham’s modernity.
GT America Mono
This monospaced font creates an engaging contrast, combining Gotham’s seamless flow with a typewriter-esque charm.
With its sophisticated serifs, Grifo brings warmth and personality, making it a delightful counterpart to Gotham.
Another sans-serif, Knockout offers varied widths and weights, allowing it to bring a balanced font pairing with Gotham.
This font has a tall and condensed appearance. Therefore, it creates an interesting visual appearance alongside Gotham’s uniform width.
A contemporary serif with sharp edges, GT Sectra adds flair without overshadowing Gotham’s simplicity.
This font is known for its clarity and charm. It can add depth to compositions that use Gotham.
A versatile serif, Chronicle Display offers a traditional touch to Gotham’s streamlined design.
This powerful serif typeface has a newspaper-like feel. It injects an old-world touch that contrasts beautifully with Gotham’s new-age spirit.
This serif font is soft and curvaceous. It brings a gentle sophistication that plays well with Gotham’s straightforward nature.
Another sans-serif, Graphik’s geometric design aligns smoothly with Gotham, making them a solid duo.
This decorative font creates a nostalgic yet contemporary look when paired with Gotham through its vintage appeal.
Pairing fonts is an art. Yet, while these combinations have been tried and tested, the ultimate choice depends on the specific requirements of the project and the designer’s vision. With Gotham being versatile, though, it does shine alongside numerous typefaces.
Which Brands Should Use Gotham?
With Gotham being such a versatile and neutral font, it’s suitable for brands across various sectors. Here’s a breakdown of the types of brands that would benefit from integrating it into their visual identities:
- Startups and tech companies: For brands that aim to project a modern, forward-thinking image, Gotham’s sleek design is ideal. It resonates with innovation and clarity, a crucial aspect for tech-focused entities.
- Retail and e-commerce: Given its easy readability and broad appeal, Gotham makes a useful font for product descriptions, website headers and marketing materials. In turn, it ensures customers have a pleasant browsing experience.
- Financial institutions: Trust and reliability are pivotal in the financial sector. Gotham’s straightforward design communicates these values effectively, making it a fitting choice for banks, investment firms and insurance companies.
- Health care providers: Medical institutions, clinics and wellness brands can use Gotham to convey professionalism and care. Its clean lines are calming and reassure people that the brand cares.
- Media and entertainment: Magazines, news platforms and entertainment channels can use Gotham for headings, content and captions. That way, they ensure content is accessible and attractive.
What Should It Be Used As
Although the foundry behind Gotham states you can use it anywhere, geometric fonts are best suited for headlines and in logos. You’re much better off sticking with a simple and common serif or sans-serif for body text.
Designers should always look at user experience first. If the reader has any difficulty at all deciphering letters, then the font combination needs adjusting. For that reason, we recommend using Gotham for bigger letters and pairing it with something simpler for the body text on any project.
Because it has nice lines, the font will pair with almost any font you choose and look nice, but looks particularly good with serifs. Good designers can take a step back and see if the overall balance works well for the project and shift to a different font if needed.
The Font Series Guide: Introduction
Chapter 1: 15 Google Fonts You Should Be Using
Chapter 2: Times New Roman
Chapter 3: Roboto
Chapter 4: Georgia
Chapter 5: Verdana
Chapter 6: Helvetica
Chapter 7: Comic Sans
Chapter 8: Didot
Chapter 9: Arial
Chapter 10: Tahoma
Chapter 11: Garamond
Chapter 12: Century Gothic
Chapter 13: Brody
Chapter 14: Bromello
Chapter 15: Savoy
Chapter 16: Athene
Chapter 17: Calibri
Chapter 18: Proxima Nova
Chapter 19: Anders
Chapter 20: Monthoers
Chapter 21: Gotham
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.