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Is Gotham the New Helvetica?

Originally commissioned for GQ magazine, Gotham’s popularity has boomed since its creation. Perhaps most notably, it was used for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign. A fresh sans-serif typeface—nostalgic but forward-facing—it doesn’t carry the sort of historical weight that neo-grotesque sans-serif typefaces do. Gotham was a perfect match for Obama’s campaign.

Clean, crisp, and wonderfully versatile with its large font family, it’s no wonder Gotham is so loved.

But has it become too popular?

The typeface is everywhere nowadays. For example, Coca Cola used it for their “Open Happiness” campaign, Tazo Tea used it with its packaging overhaul, and USPS used it for their rebrand in 2013. It’s literally everywhere. If you didn’t notice it before, you sure will now! You even see it every time you watch a movie.

That being said, I’ve heard a lot of grumbling from my fellow graphic designers about how Gotham has become tired and overused. About how we should begin shying away from it.

What do you think?

More on Gotham here.

5 Comments

  1. Dantee Benton wrote:

    Its such a coincidence that you wrote this today. Just last week some friends and I had noticed that the Gotham typeface was all around us. I never even realized it was on the movie rating screen.

    Friday, October 27, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  2. Hoangnhat Nguyen wrote:

    Hi Lauren. Thank you for your post. Now that I think about it, I have seen this logo in before. I just never realized that it was a Gotham. I believe they used the Gotham design to grab peoples attention with a sans serif font. They want people to see it even if they are far away. I guess from now on, I should pay more attention to other logos or packaging designs that use common fonts. Thank again for you post.

    Friday, October 27, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
  3. Ashley Kwon wrote:

    For me, personally, I have seen the Gotham typeface on many advertisements and posters in D.C. and it truly has become increasingly popular and widely used. Stellar post! It was a very insightful read.

    Friday, October 27, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink
  4. Kathleen Larkin wrote:

    Thanks for the post! I really like the Gotham typeface. I hope it doesn’t become overused and trite because it really is the perfect choice for so many applications.

    Friday, October 27, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
  5. Lauren Pacheco wrote:

    Gotham is such a versatile font that this doesn’t come as a surprise but now I’m going to notice it everywhere.

    Monday, October 30, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink