Typefaces are Everything in Political Campaigns
From the New York Times:
DURING the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama’s choice of Gotham — an elegant 21st-century font — for his campaign signage was praised by graphic designers for its modernity and implicit message of change. Critics derided John McCain’s font, Optima, which was developed in the 1950s, and recalled the printing on a remedy for gastric distress.
But this year, Democratic and Republican candidates alike have largely forsaken modish fonts like Gotham, choosing instead fonts that look like they were banged out on a vintage typewriter or carved into an ancient temple.
My take: As a graphic designer, I’m pretty much obliged to be fascinated by typefaces, and Gotham is no exception. First designed in 2000 by Tobias Frere-Jones for GQ Magazine, the type gained something of a cult popularity in the Obama campaign and has since been put to work for Starbucks, Chicago’s 2016 Olympics bid, on film posters such as for Moon and Inception, and possibly for remakes of the British wartime poster “Keep Calm and Carry On.” I just watched Food Network a little while ago and I counted some half dozen uses of the font in the space of a half hour. I even downloaded a free lookalike font for use in my own projects, called Nevis.
Made with Avenir 65, about as close to Gotham as you can get without royalties.
Though the New York Times article argues that Gotham and similar modernist fonts have been downplayed this election, there’s still a fair amount of Gotham being bounced around, oddly enough, by some Tea Party candidates like Rick Perry and Kesha Rogers.
As seen in LGF’s adspace.
Bad LaRouchebag craziness redacted.
Could it be parody? Are Tea Party candidates trying to jump the bandwagon, or at least trying to mimic the Obama campaign’s success? Or is Gotham merely a popular graphic trend like we saw with Helvetica’s revival a few years ago? Time will tell. Until then, here’s Gotham’s creator on the thought process.