Has Barack Obama exhausted Gotham?

The United States’ soon to President Barack Obama’s choice of Tobias Frere-Jones’ Gotham typeface has been well documented.

According to Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Gotham is a font with many voices.

Friendly without being folksy, confident without being aloof, Gotham's many moods run from hip to nostalgic to brash to eloquent.

Gotham was originally commissioned by GQ Magazine who had a dual agenda of wanting something that would look very fresh, yet very established, to have a credible voice to it. It also needed to look very masculine and of-the-moment. (source). It isn't hard to see how Gotham met Barack Obama's similar criteria.

Although Gotham's letterform designs were inspired by architectural signage, particularly around New York City, Barack Obama's use of it to create his own iconography has changed the very meaning of its design to me.

Now it seems that no matter what type I set in Gotham, everything reads Change we can believe in. Instead of being a font with many voices, everything that I type in Gotham has Barack Obama's voice.

I suppose that if we are to pin any typeface on what we hope a leader will achieve, Barack Obama is the worthiest of candidates. Somehow I still wish this hadn't happened. Somehow I still selfishly wish that he had not taken Gotham for himself and had exhausted another typeface instead.

Change we can believe in (Comic Sans)


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