Face the Press

Someone over at the Gray Lady just discovered typography, if David Dunlap’s piece on the 9/11 memorial cornerstone is any indication. Unexpectedly, the article devotes 1,000 words to discussing the use of Gotham — a beautiful typeface designed by Tobias Frere-Jones and distributed by The Hoefler Type Foundry — as the principle face for the cornerstone. The photo caption is unintentionally hilarious: “Gotham… is distinguished by the uniformity in the width of its strokes and the absence of embellishments like serifs.” Really!

I shouldn’t be so dismissive though, because if anything the practice of design could benefit from more of this kind of attention from mainstream news sources. After all, there are full-time journalists at most all of the major newspapers who are devoted to covering architecture; it says something about graphic design’s underrated status that there are no equivalent journalists regularly contributing design coverage and criticism to the discourse in the general media. I would be delighted if the Times hired a peer to (the soon departing) Herbert Muschamp to cover the ‘design beat.’ Just please, please don’t let it be Chip Kidd.