From 1948 through 1963, Jackson Burke
was the Director of Typographic Development at Mergenthaler Linotype Co. in the USA. Linotype released the original weights of the Trade Gothic
™ typeface in 1948. Over the next 12 years, Burke continued to expand the family, designing additional weights and styles.
There is a genre of sans serif typefaces often referred to as the “American Gothics,”
in large part because they all have the word “Gothic” in their names. In this case, “Gothic” does not refer to the Middle Ages or to blackletter, but is just another way of denoting sans serif typefaces. The first 20th century master of the American Gothic style is Morris Fuller Benton
, who designed typefaces like Lightline Gothic
™, News Gothic
™, and Franklin Gothic
™. Jackson Burke and Trade Gothic follow nobly in these footsteps.
Since its initial release, Trade Gothic has been a stable part of American graphic design work, and has been used internationally as well. For a time, it was even seen a competitor to Helvetica
®. Today Trade Gothic is often seen in advertising and multimedia in combination with serif text fonts, and the condensed versions are popular in the newspaper industry for headlines. For all its success, Trade Gothic does not display as a coherent unifying structure across all members of its family, although this dissonance does adds a bit of earthy naturalism to its appeal.
In 2008, Linotype commissioned Tom Grace to redesign, revise, and expand the Trade Gothic family. Developed under the direction of Akira Kobayashi
, Linotype’s Type Director, the resulting family became Trade Gothic Next. The new typeface’s refinements included special rethinking of details such as the letters’ terminals and stroke endings, as well as the fonts’ spacing and the kerning.
Tom Grace, a 2003 graduate of the MA Typeface Design course at the University of Reading in the UK, is an American typeface designer working in Heidelberg, Germany. Trade Gothic Next was his first large commission from Linotype.
Akira Kobayashi has served as Linotype’s Type Director since 2001. In many ways, he could be seen as a distant successor to Jackson Burke.