Franklin Gothic


Morris Fuller Benton, the son of the owner of a type foundry, created Franklin Gothic (FG) in the first few years of the 20th century. FG is a sans-serif font, but unlike the other sans-serif fonts developed in the 20th century, FG retains aspects of those of the 9th century; the full loop forming a bowl in the lowercase 'g' is one example. Released in 1905, FG quickly saw a condensed version to follow, as well as an extra condensed version the following year and oblique versions in 1913. Benton developed the concept of type families. While he wasn't the first to have this idea, it was a main underlier when creating FG.


At the point of the introduction of Franklin Gothic, sans-serf fonts had been reguarly used for about 70 years ('Antique' by Vincent Figgens in 1832) – Wiliam Caslon IV created the earliest version latin in 1916 called 'Egyptian', although no examples can be found. Since then there was much debate on what to call the new letterform. 'Grotesque' was the name adopted in Britian, while in America they were calling the form 'Gothic' - typically associated with blackletter. Franklin Gothic's creator, Benton, was an American, thus the naming of the new sans-serf: Franklin GOTHIC.

It should be noted that other sans-serif fonts of the 20th century tended to exhibit cleaner ears and open-loop lowercase letters, like the 'g'.

Common Uses

The Franklin Gothic font family consists of a wide range of weight and italics, including:
• Book (Regular, Oblique, Condensed, Compressed, Extra Compressed)
• Demi (Regular, Condensed, Compressed, Extra Compressed)
• Heavy (Regular, Oblique)

The font style can be described as "assertive" as well as friendly. This makes it "an excellent type for children's books and advertising" (Dodd, 93). It would be interesting to study what inherent differences children's books and advertising have.

Fg has a large X-height, which makes it easier to read in smaller printed type. Being that it is a sans-serif font, it is naturally easier to read on screen, but would be best used for titles or headers allowing for body text to be simpler sans-serif fonts like Helvetica or Arial.

Visual Study


Dodd, Robin. From Gutenberg to opentype: an illustrated history of type from the earliest letterforms to the latest digital fonts. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks, 2006. Print.

"Typedia: ITC Franklin Gothic." Typedia: A Shared Encyclopedia of Typefaces. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2012. .

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