(x) "Umberto Eco" geometric sans - Gotham {Dav}

Timid_and_friendly's picture

HI all you typo freaks, i got one for you,

What on earth is the name of this font. I've been looking for a whole week and haven't sussed it yet?

Look at the C, BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Look at the perfect circular "O" wow!! Take look at the center point of the "M"

The nearest i can get to it is Avenir but that isn't quite it? Im up for suggestions.

You can also contact me direct At point-online.org

Any help would be greatly apreciated.

Thanx in advance


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Stephen Coles's picture

formlos is correct as usual. Proxima, a font predating Gotham which draws from similar sources, is a nice alternative.

Timid_and_friendly's picture


Timid_and_friendly's picture

thanks for taking the time to respond, this is a nice alternative. But Gotham is so pure. Pure science fiction. Almost too perfect for our world... if you know what i mean

wizard7926's picture

Such deep thought in the type board nowadays..

parker's picture

"...Gotham which draws from similar sources" -- like what?

Stephen Coles's picture

Quoting H&FJ:

"Long before the emergence of a profession called "graphic design," there was signage. Up until the mid-twentieth century, the job of providing architectural lettering often fell to engineers or draftsmen, most of whom worked outside of the typographic tradition. The shape of facade lettering was often determined by the practical business of legibility, rather than any sort of stylistic agenda — although inevitably, even the draftsman's vision of "basic building lettering" was influenced by the prevailing style of the time."

I believe this type of lettering was also the inspiration for Simonson's Proxima Sans, which is about to get the italic, condensed, OpenType treatment.

Mark Simonson's picture

I sketched out the basic idea for Proxima Sans (particularly the lowercase) around 1981. (I called it Zanzibar at the time, just because I liked the word. The name Proxima Sans came later.) In 1991, I was art director of a magazine were I was using Gill Sans. I liked it, but wanted something a bit plainer and more geometric. Taking this basic concept and the earlier ideas I had explored with Zanzibar, I began working on what would ultimately become Proxima Sans (1994).

Many existing faces influenced the look of Proxima Sans. I wanted something with the general proportions and stroke contrast of Helvetica or Akzidenz Grotesk, but with construction principles and details borrowed variously from Futura, Kabel, the American gothics (Copperplate Gothic, News Gothic, Franklin Gothic, etc.) and the U.S. Federal Highway signage typeface (the same one that inspired Font Bureau's Interstate). The result was a hybrid; a face combining humanist proportions with a somewhat geometric appearance.

The similarities between Proxima Sans and Gotham I attribute to zeitgeist. Avenir, which is even older, is also somewhat similar, except that its proportions are more like Futura. Given that Adrian Frutiger's aim was to redesign Futura, this is only natural.

parker's picture

"...of Helvetica or Akzidenz Grotesk....."

i think that i read that here, not sure.... but you said that you don't like Helvetica, no?

" ...but with construction principles and details borrowed variously from Futura, Kabel, the American gothics (Copperplate Gothic, News Gothic, Franklin Gothic, etc.)"

Akzidenz Grotesk is the "dad" and Franklin Gothic is the "son", no?

by the way what is "Akzidenz "? a german word?

Mark Simonson's picture

I have a soft spot for Helvetica; it was one of the first fonts I admired when I started really looking at fonts as a teenager. I moved on and became more interested in other fonts. I still like it okay, but it's been over-used.

I don't think there is a direct connection between Akzidenz Grotesk and Franklin Gothic. Franklin Gothic came out of the American "gothic" tradition--mainly wood types. Akzidenz Grotesk has German roots. They were roughly contemporaneous. Similar stuff was being done in England at the time. Bureau Grotesque is out of that tradition. No doubt there was some cross-pollenation, but it wasn't like it is today.

Akzidenz means something like "standard" or "commercial." (In fact, when Akzidenz Grotesk was imported to the U.S. in the 1950s, it was renamed "Standard." That's the name I first knew it as.)

parker's picture

Thanks Mark.

"...but it’s been over-used."

I think that the right word/term is inappropriate use - the same thing with Times/Times New Roman. People didn't pay for the fonts (they're available on your system - PC or Mac) -- so why not to use them?

"Akzidenz Grotesk and Franklin Gothic"

Maybe I didn't understand Robert Bringhurst - "The Elements of Typographic Style" -- page 132.

pattyfab's picture

Gotham was the font chosen for the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower which may eventually get built at Ground Zero, in some form or another.

This article explains why it was deemed appropriate.

Mark Simonson's picture

"Akzidenz Grotesk and Franklin Gothic”
Maybe I didn’t understand Robert Bringhurst - “The Elements of Typographic Style” — page 132.

I'm not sure what he means by "immediate ancestor." That makes it sound like one is based on the other, but I find it difficult to believe that was the case, and I've never heard of any such connection before. Maybe he meant it in the sense that they were released only a few years apart.

Mac McGrew in "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century" describes Franklin Gothic as one of the first examples of Morris Fuller Benton's consolidation of various gothics from the foundries which were brought together into ATF. No mention of Akzidenz Grotesk.

titus n.'s picture

Akzidenz means something like “standard” or “commercial.” (In fact, when Akzidenz Grotesk was imported to the U.S. in the 1950s, it was renamed “Standard.” That’s the name I first knew it as.)

this is incorrect. among german speaking printers akzidenz meant a print-job of small scale: folders, buisness cards, forms etc.. anything that isn't book, newspaper or magazine printing.
akzidenzien (plural) also meant headlines, it was used synonimous to display (engl.) - and from that root the font akzidenz grotesk was named. translated it would be something like display sans.

Mark Simonson's picture

Thanks for the clarification. I was never quite sure about what it meant. I was mislead by the American name for it (Standard) assuming it must have meant the same thing.

pattyfab's picture

And I always thought it was just a faux-teutonic way of spelling "Accidents"!

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Patty, that would be "das Unglück" – literally "un-lucky"...
My German/Dutch dictionary is quite clear re "Akzidens" - display type or secondary matter.

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