Even if you don’t think you know Gotham, you probably do. It was designed by (just as iconic) Tobias-Frere Jones in 2000, originally commissioned by GQ Magazine, it took a lot of inspiration from New York City itself. Despite being almost as ubiquitous as sliced bread, Gotham is a fine typeface which requires a ton of baggage if you want to design a type specimen for it.
The first thing which was done was collecting thoughts; use cases, quotes, descriptions of Gotham’s use in the wild. Without being attached to a visual mood yet, this helped set the tone. As an example,
“They’re the matter-of-fact neon signs that emblazon liquor stores and pharmacies, and the names of propreitors plainly painted on delivery trucks. These letters are straightforward and non-negotiable, yet possessed of great personality, and expertly made.”
Overwhelmed with NYC as a theme (too broad, too many subcultures, icons, landmarks, design systems!), Danyelle chose instead to focus on just one aspect: the infamous New York city cab.
And with that, came the original colours and layout for the type specimen: