1. MontserratDesigner Julieta Ulanovsky named Monserrat after the neighbourhood in Buenos Aires in which she works. It was inspired by local architectural signage just as Gotham was. The marginally wider letterforms of Montserrat give it a relaxed feel that Gotham can’t muster.
2. NexaNexa Light, and Nexa Bold, are both available to download for free. They are a little more expressive than some of the typefaces in this list, notably the lowercase g and the uppercase J and Q. Much of the basic form is inspired by Gotham, and Nexa is great for branding projects.
3. Pier SansMathieu Desjardins’ Pier Sans is a free font with 10 styles. Similarly geometric to Gotham, Pier Sans pushes the 1930s feel a little further. Perhaps a touch more Miami than Manhattan.
4. RalewayRaleway is a comprehensive geometric sans-serif in 18 fonts. Weights range from thin to black, and each weight has an accompanying italic. Intended for use at display sizes, it is close to Gotham in numerous ways, with the obvious exception of the spine on the S.
5. VisionVision is an entire family of 12 fonts free for both commercial, and non-commercial work. A fraction more humanist that Gotham, especially in the lowercase, Vision uses the same basic letterforms with a slightly narrower, less rounded skeleton.
6. Museo SansIf Gotham is overused, it is only marginally more overused than the next typeface in our list. Museo Sans is wildly popular with web designers because it offers the same aesthetic, for nothing. Museo Sans 500 can be downloaded for free for commercial and non-commercial work.
7. GothveticaGothvetica: Gotham, mixed with Helvetica. The sort of mashup that only seems like a worthwhile endeavour when type designers get together for one too many drinks. But somehow it works. It’s a fun project that’s free for non-commercial work.
8. Gothic A1Gotham is understandably American, considering its roots in the architectural identity of New York, but the popularity of its simple modernism extends far beyond America shores. Gothic A1 is a free sans-serif with similar a similar feel, but with extensive support for Korean as well as Latin characters.
9. KionaKiona is a minimal geometric uppercase typeface that feels similar to Gotham in many of its characters. But Kiona emphasises the diagonal in its distinct K, and R. Kiona light, bold, and semibold are all premium fonts. Kiona regular is free to download.
10. CovesCoves is a simple geometric sans-serif that shares much of its DNA with Gotham, the apex on the M, the lack of cross-bar on the J, the shape of the double-height a, all follow the same pattern. It’s free for personal use, but for commercial use you’ll need a license.
Bonus: 5 Premium Font Alternatives to GothamThe sheer volume of work involved in designing a complete typeface family means that when typefaces are a labor of love, they normally focus on a few key weights or styles. Commonly you’ll get a regular and a bold, but no italic. The exception is when a project is taken on by a community of volunteers, such as the team behind Montserrat, when it is able to grow into a wider set of fonts. If you need a comprehensive set of characters, or a variety of weights, then a premium font family could be the answer. Premium fonts aren’t necessarily better than their free alternatives, but the designers have been able to invest the time necessary to draw more glyphs. Here are five premium alternatives to Gotham, for those that need a little more flexibility.
11. MalloryFrom $50 per font If you love Gotham but want to opt for something different, why not pick a typeface by the same designer. Mallory is a little more expressive in heavy weights, but is similarly proportioned.
12. EffraFrom $21 per font / Also available on Typekit Effra is a highly flexible family of fonts that unusually includes support for Arabic script, if you’re designing for an international client Effra is a prudent choice.
13. FF MarkFrom $49 per font If you’re a fan of Gotham, but wish it were a little more geometric, then FF Mark is the typeface for you.
14. Loew NextFrom $53 per font Loew Next is a redrawing of an earlier attempt at a simple, modern sans-serif by the same designer. It features an extremely diverse character set.
15. AvenirFrom $47 per font Pre-dating it by over a decade, Avenir’s roots are the same type of typographic exploration—this time by Adrian Frutiger—that led to Gotham.
Paddi MacDonnell is a designer and entrepreneur from Northern Ireland, follow her on Twitter.
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