Monday, June 20, 2016

What Do Gothic Letters Suggest?

It just dawned on me after gliding over them for several years: Many of our nation's major newspapers use Gothic letters in the masthead! Here are a few examples : The Times Picayune, the Los Angeles TimesThe New York TimesThe Boston GlobeThe Washington PostThe Chicago Tribune, the Miami HeraldThe Philadelphia Inquirer, and several others follow this pattern.

The Baltimore Sun, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution do not follow that convention. For most of us this is about personal tastes. But some journals use this Gothic text to convey a notion of gravity, or deep seriousness. It's like they carry a banner implying "take me seriously, for God's sake! The NYT does have a mostly rich, influential urbanites that take themselves so seriously and expect the proles to do so as well. 

What if the New York Times were to use a different type face. To take an extreme example, how about Comic Sans?

At least it's not boring, like Times New Roman.

Years ago a cartoonist, Walt Kelly of Pogo fame, chose to depict Deacon Mushrat* speaking in Gothic letters. Perhaps the Deacon aspired to an opinion column in the New York Times:

Therein lies a problem with Gothic type face: It takes itself too seriously and comes off as a tad stodgy, like Deacon Mushrat. But maybe that's a newspapery fault that they try to plead being authoritative, like some modern-day prayer:

From Trumpies and ghosties
And long-leggedy models
And Politicians that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

*As cartoonist Walt Kelly styled him in Pogo.


TexWisGirl said...

the nyt in comic sans was too funny.

bakku-shan said...

I'm afraid that Gothic lettering looks old-fashioned and stodgy.

Hester in Rhode Island said...

Pogo was a great comic strip, little appreciated in its time.

Mike said...

Stodgy is a good description for gothic typeface.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Comic Sans should be used more.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I don't know why the New York Times uses the Gothic font because it's clearly medieval. It ought to be used for 'The Buxom Wenches Gazette'.

allenwoodhaven said...

Fonts are an interesting topic. I think they're an important part of written communication.
A most excellent post. Loved the frame with Pogo and Deacon Mushrat.