New York’s ‘Characters:’ Typefaces of the Town

August 22, 2011 at 7:57 am

Author Simon Garfield. Photo courtesy of Gotham Books.

Simon Garfield’s latest book, “Just My Type: A Book about Fonts,” tells the town’s little-known history of typography.

The signs on the subway system? Helvetica. The hackneyed “I Heart NY” logo? American Typewriter.

New York has always been a city of bold-faced names, whether in newsprint or neon.

The city is loud, so the letters must be loud too — and instantly recognizable.

MetroFocus asked this “font-ain” of knowledge for a guided tour of the city’s most ubiquitous typefaces.

Click the images below for the story behind the fonts:

Mutual of America PSEG


MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Rosalind P. Walter, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Jody and John Arnhold, the Tiger Baron Foundation, the Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, the Metropolitan Media Fund, Laura and Jim Ross, the Dorothy Pacella Fund, in memory of Vincent Pacella and Shailaja and Umesh Nagarkatte.


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