You’ve likely seen the Franklin Gothic typeface a thousand times without ever realizing it. From advertising logos and billboards, television and movie screens, books and album covers, board games and computer games, this timeless typeface is everywhere.
Morris Fuller Benton created the original version of Franklin Gothic in 1902. The typeface found its influence in Akzidenz Grotesk types and it was issued by American Type Founders (ATF), where Benton himself served as chief typeface designer and head of the design department. In fact, over the course of his career as a type designer, Morris Fuller Benton created over 200 fonts along with his team at ATF.
Benton named this particular font as an homage to Benjamin Franklin, the founding father of the United States who was a typesetter himself, and of course published many things, including the best-selling Poor Richard’s Almanac. While the term “gothic” was a contemporary description during the early twentieth century, the term is now primarily used to characterize a font as a classic period design.
More than a century after its creation, and now represented by the great URW++, the Franklin Gothic font is still featured in a multitude of prominent displays and noteworthy media. Time Magazine uses it for their headlines and article titles, and The New York Times features Franklin Gothic in a variety of their section headlines, and both the American and Canadian versions of Scrabble use the font on the letter tiles. In film, Franklin Gothic Heavy added adrenaline to the title of the film, Rocky and Franklin Gothic Condensed made the subtitles in the Star Wars movies easy to read. Franklin Gothic has also left a lasting impact in many company logos, including those for Showtime and Bank of America.
Franklin Gothic is a timeless addition to every font collection, and its applications are innumerable. The design is clean and easily legible and its weight strikes a balanced harmony, making it perfect for both serious and lighthearted content, and everything in between.