Franklin Gothic

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FranklinGothicSP.svg
Category Sans-serif
Classification Grotesque
Designer(s) Morris Fuller Benton
Foundry American Type Founders
Date released 1902–1967
Also known as Gothic #1, Square Gothic Heavy, Gothic #16

Franklin Gothic and its related faces are realist sans-serif typefaces originated by Morris Fuller Benton (1872–1948) in 1902. “Gothic” was a contemporary term (now little-used except to describe period designs) meaning sans-serif. Franklin Gothic has been used in many advertisements and headlines in newspapers. The typeface continues to maintain a high profile, appearing in a variety of media from books to billboards. Despite a period of eclipse in the 1930s, after the introduction of European faces like Kabel and Futura, they were re-discovered by American designers in the 1940s and have remained popular ever since.

History[edit]

Franklin Gothic itself is an extra-bold sans-serif type. It draws upon earlier, nineteenth century models, from many of the twenty-three foundries consolidated into American Type Founders in 1892. Historian Alexander Lawson speculated that Franklin Gothic was influenced by Berthold’s Akzidenz-Grotesk types but offered no evidence to support this theory[1] which was later presented as fact by Philip Meggs and Rob Carter.[2] It was named in honor of a prolific American printer, Benjamin Franklin. The faces were issued over a period of ten years, all of which were designed by Benton and issued by A.T.F.[3]

  • Franklin Gothic (1903)
  • Franklin Gothic Condensed + Extra Condensed (1906)
  • Franklin Gothic Italic (1910)
  • Franklin Gothic Condensed Shaded (1912)

Many years later, the foundry again expanded the line, adding two more variants:

  • Franklin Gothic Wide (1952) designed by John L. “Bud” Renshaw
  • Franklin Gothic Condensed Italic (1967) designed by Whedon Davis

It can be distinguished from other sans serif typefaces by its more traditional double-story a and especially g (as double-story gs are rare in sans-serif fonts), the tail of the Q and the ear of the g. The tail of the Q curls down from the bottom center of the letterform in the book weight and shifts slightly to the right in the bolder fonts.

Hot metal copies[edit]

Barnhart Brothers & Spindler copied the face as Gothic #1, while both Linotype and Intertype, called their copies Gothic #16. Monotype’s copy kept the name Franklin Gothic, but because of the demands of mechanical composition, their version was modified to fit a standard arrangement. The Ludlow version was known as Square Gothic Heavy.[4]

Cold type copies[edit]

Due to the post-war popularity of Gothic faces, most producers of cold type offered their own versions of Franklin Gothic. These included:[5]

Digital copies[edit]

Digital copies have been made by Adobe, International Typeface Corporation, Monotype Imaging, and URW. Victor Caruso drew a multi-weight family for the International Typeface Corporation (ITC) in 1980 and in 1991, ITC commissioned the Font Bureau in Boston to create condensed, compressed and extra compressed versions of ITC Franklin Gothic. Bitstream’s version is called Gothic 744. Microsoft Windows has distributed "Franklin Gothic Medium," one of ITC's variants of the font, in all copies since at least Windows 95.

While ITC Franklin Gothic is the most common release, it has been criticised for modifying the structure of the family considerably. Calligrapher and design historian Paul Shaw argued that it was a failure for "mucking about with the distinctive Franklin Gothic g. In ITC Franklin Gothic...the g keeps popping up like a schoolchild overly eager to answer a question."[6]

Alternate Gothic[edit]

Alternate Gothic Nos. 1,2,3
Alternate Gothic.svg
Category Sans-serif
Classification realist
Designer(s) Morris Fuller Benton
Foundry American Type Founders
Date released 1903
Re-issuing foundries Monotype
Design based on Franklin Gothic
Also known as Gothic Condensed (Linotype + Intertype + Ludlow)

Alternate Gothic was designed by M.F. Benton for A.T.F. in 1903. It is essentially a bold condensed version of Franklin Gothic, made in three numbered widths. No.1 is the most condensed, 3 the least.

Hot metal copies[edit]

This face was copied by Monotype under the same name, #1 by Ludlow, Linotype and Intertype as Gothic Condensed. Ludlow’s Trade Gothic Condensed is very similar as well. Two variants were made:

  • Alternate Gothic Modernized (1927, Monotype), added thirteen alternate characters drawn by Sol Hess.
  • Condensed Gothic Outline (1953, Ludlow), is essentially an outline of Alternate Gothic #2.[7]

Cold type copies[edit]

Alternate Gothic was copied by Compugraphic as Alpin Gothic.[8]

Digital copies[edit]

Digital copies have been made by URW, Elsner+Flake, and Monotype as CG Alternate Gothic #3.

Micah Rich and several contributors of The League of Moveable Type have made a popular OFL-licensed version of Alternate Gothic #1, League Gothic.[9]

Monotone Gothic[edit]

Monotone Gothic
Category Sans-serif
Classification realist
Designer(s) Morris Fuller Benton
Foundry American Type Founders
Date released 1907
Design based on Franklin Gothic

Monotone Gothic was designed by M.F. Benton for A.T.F. in 1907. It is essentially a lighter, more extended version of Franklin Gothic. Only one weight was made and it was apparently never copied under that name by any other foundry. Digital versions of Franklin Gothic Light Extended are essentially knock-offs of this face.[10]

News Gothic[edit]

News Gothic
NGsp4.svg
Category Sans-serif
Classification realist
Designer(s) Morris Fuller Benton
Foundry American Type Founders
Date released 1908
Design based on Franklin Gothic
Also known as Trade Gothic (Linotype), Record Gothic (Ludlow), Balto Gothic, (Baltimore Type & Composition Company)
Main article: News Gothic

News Gothic was designed by M.F. Benton for A.T.F. in 1908 as a continuing effort to consolidate and systematize the nineteenth-century Gothic faces inherited from the company’s predecessors. It is essentially a medium weight companion to Franklin Gothic. Morris cut seven variations for A.T.F.:

  • News Gothic
  • News Gothic Italic
  • News Gothic Condensed
  • News Gothic Extra Condensed
  • News Gothic Extra Condensed Title
  • News Gothic Bold
  • News Gothic Condensed Bold

As with Franklin Gothic, the foundry expanded the line sometime later, adding two more variants:

Particularly extensive designs in the same style were Trade Gothic from Linotype and Record Gothic by Ludlow.[11] [12] Benton Sans is a notable, and extremely comprehensive, modern revival.[13][14]

Lightline Gothic[edit]

Lightline Gothic
Category Sans-serif
Classification realist
Designer(s) Morris Fuller Benton
Foundry American Type Founders
Date released 1908

Lightline Gothic was designed by M.F. Benton for A.T.F. in 1908 as a lighter version of News Gothic, which makes it an ultra-light version of Franklin Gothic. Only one weight was made and it was apparently never copied under that name by any other foundry. Digital versions of Franklin Gothic Ultra-Light are essentially knock-offs of this face.

Hot metal variants[edit]

In 1921, M.F. Benton had the capitals of this face cast in different sizes on identical bodies, thus creating, ex nihilo, a lining Gothic which was sold under the name Lightline Title Gothic[15]

Usage[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lawson, Alexander S., Anatomy of a Typeface, Godine, Boston, 1990, ISBN 978-0-87923-333-4, pp. 295–307.
  2. ^ Meggs, Philip and Carter, Rob, Typographic Specimens: The Great Typefaces, Van Nostrand Rheinhold, 1993, ISBN 0-442-00758-2, pp. 151.
  3. ^ MacGrew, Mac, "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century," Oak Knoll Books, New Castle Delaware, 1993, ISBN 0-938768-34-4, pp. 142 - 143.
  4. ^ MacGrew, "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century," pp. 142 - 143.
  5. ^ Lawson, Alexander, Archie Provan, and Frank Romano, "Primer Metal Typeface Identification," National Composition Association, Arlington, Virginia, 1976, pp. 34 - 35.
  6. ^ Shaw, Paul. "Flawed Typefaces". Print magazine. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  7. ^ MacGrew, "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century," pp. 10 - 11.
  8. ^ Wheatley, W.F., "Typeface Analogue," National Composition Association, Arlington, Virginia, 1988, p. 5.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ MacGrew, "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century," pp. 222 - 223.
  11. ^ MacGrew, "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century," pp. 264 - 267.
  12. ^ Coles, Stephen. "Record Gothic: fictional samples". Fonts in Use. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  13. ^ "Benton Sans". Font Bureau. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Benton Gothic". Fonts in Use. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  15. ^ MacGrew, "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century," pp. 200 - 201.
  16. ^ "Web Communication Standards: Core Identity Elements". New York University. Archived from the original on 20 August 2009. 
  17. ^ http://www.starwars.com/episode-i/bts/production/news19990302.html
  18. ^ http://www.starwars.com/episode-iii/bts/production/f20050126/index.html
  19. ^ http://www.colum.edu/Administrative_offices/CPS/Identity/wordmark/
  20. ^ http://www.iplt20.com/about/2015/clothing-and-equipment-regulations/170/-player-identification

External links[edit]

  • ATF's 1912 specimen book, showing Franklin Gothic on pages 738 onwards and many contemporary types. Lightline from p. 668, Alternate from p. 722. Many sample advertising settings.
  • ATF's 1923 specimen book (their legendary last major specimen before the Depression), Gothic types from p. 459. Lightline Gothic on p. 490.