ATF Franklin Gothic

Franklin Gothic has been the quintessential American sans for more than a century. Designed by Morris Fuller Benton and released in 1905 by American Type Founders, Franklin Gothic quickly stood out in the crowded field of sans-serif types, gaining an enduring popularity.

Benton’s original design was a display face in a single weight. It had a bold, direct solidity, yet conveyed plenty of character. A modern typeface in the tradition of 19th-century grotesques, Franklin Gothic was drawn with a distinctive contrast in stroke weight, giving it a unique personality among the more monolinear appearance of later geometric and neo-grotesque sans-serif types.

Franklin Gothic has been interpreted into a series of weights before, most notably with ITC Franklin Gothic. But as the original type was just a bold display face (later accompanied by a few similarly bold widths and italics), how Benton’s design is expanded to multiple weights and styles as a digital type family can vary significantly.

Benton designed several gothic faces that harmonize with one another, including Franklin Gothic, News Gothic, and Monotone Gothic, that can serve as models for new interpretations of his work. With ATF Franklin Gothic, Mark van Bronkhorst looked to Benton’s Monotone Gothic—originally a single typeface in a regular weight, and similar to Franklin Gothic in its forms—as the basis for lighter styles.

ATF Franklin Gothic may appear familiar given its heritage, but is a new design offering a fresh take on Benton’s work. The text weights are wider and more open than some previous Franklin Gothic interpretations, and as a result are quite legible as text, at very small sizes, and on screen. ATF Franklin Gothic maintains the warmth and the spirit of a Benton classic while offering a suite of fonts tuned precisely for contemporary appeal and utility.

The 18-font family offers nine weights with true italics, a Latin-extended character set, and a suite of OpenType features (see the specimen PDF for details).

Morris Fuller Benton, American Type Founders, 1905
Mark van Bronkhorst, Igino Marini, & Ben Kiel, 2019