Font lust

Hoefler & Frere-Jones have two great fonts out, Gotham and Whitney. Gotham is especially notable, as it is the font being used for the inscription on the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower in Manhattan.

The typeface, Gotham, deliberately evokes the blocky, no-nonsense, unselfconscious architectural lettering that dominated the streetscape from the 1930’s through the 1960’s in building names, neon signs, hand-lettered advertisements and lithographed posters.

Its chief inspiration, in fact, were the letters spelling out PORT AUTHORITY BUS TERMINAL over the terminal’s Eighth Avenue doors. So the circle comes to a close, since the trade center site is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The choice of Gotham is more than a matter of typographical arcana (though as typographical arcana go, it’s not bad). As the first tangible element of the Freedom Tower – and, by extension, the trade center redevelopment – and as an image seen nationwide on Independence Day, the cornerstone sent an aesthetic signal of intent.
As a fontaholic, I would love to own both. However, at 500 bucks a pop, I have no monetary justification for doing so. At least we get a good portion of the Hoefler Text family included free in Mac OS X.

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