NYU’s two typefaces, Gotham and Mercury Text.

Our Typographic Style

NYU’s typographic language brings your communication to life. Like color, the fonts we use reinforce the tone of our communications and designs.

Gotham and Mercury Text are NYU’s two typefaces. This versatile group of font families can be combined to achieve different tones. That flexibility helps our communications appeal to many of our different audiences, including students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff, peers, and supporters, while maintaining a thematically consistent brand. Font choice also establishes a clear hierarchy of information, allowing audiences to easily navigate your communications.

Gotham references the no-nonsense signage of New York City. It’s a typeface that’s meant to feel familiar and approachable but strong enough to grab and hold your attention within the busy city.

Mercury Text is a high performance serif typeface born from nearly a decade of research and development. Mercury Text is resilient enough to work in a wide variety of communications.

 

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Primary Typeface: Gotham

Gotham typeface glyphs and weights.

NYU’s primary typeface, Gotham, is available in a range of weights and styles, lending it versatility and adaptability to a range of messaging needs.

Use Gotham for all kinds of communications. Take advantage of the wide variety of weights to create clear type hierarchies across a range of visual tones, whether your content is a simple flyer or a complex report. (Refer to our Examples in Action section for examples of how to apply Gotham.)

Get Gotham

Gotham font family licenses are available to eligible administrators through NYU IT’s OnTheHub.

You can also purchase the Gotham font family directly from the type foundry Hoefler&Co.

 


Gotham Alternatives

In some situations, our brand typefaces are not available. So we selected three backup options to maintain the integrity of our visual identity.

For Google Workspace: Montserrat

Montserrat typeface glyphs and weights.

For Email and Microsoft 365: Helvetica and Arial

Helvetica typface example.

Helvetica is our first system font alternative for Gotham. It is widely available on both Windows and Mac operating systems and can be used when Gotham and Montserrat are not available.

Arial typeface example.

Arial is our second system font alternative for Gotham. It is always available on both Windows and Mac operating systems and can be used when Gotham, Montserrat, and Helvetica are not available.

Learn more about downloading and using fonts from Google Fonts.

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Secondary Typeface: Mercury Text

Mercury Text typeface glyphs and weights.

NYU’s secondary typeface, Mercury Text, is a sophisticated typeface that lends a softer or more traditional tone to communications.

Use Mercury Text for body copy or accent text such as pull quotes, lead-ins, and subheads. Gotham is our main brand typeface, so Mercury should play a supporting role in type combinations across our visual expression. (Refer to our Examples in Action section for examples of how to apply Mercury Text.)

Get Mercury Text

The Mercury Text font family can be purchased directly from the type foundry Hoefler&Co.


Mercury Text Alternatives

For Google Workspace: Frank Ruhl Libre

Frank Ruhl Libre typeface glyphs and weights.

Design Note

Frank Ruhl Libre true italics are not available for free download. In Adobe Creative Cloud, skew text to 14 degrees to achieve false italics.

For Email and Microsoft 365: Georgia and Times New Roman

Georgia typeface example.

Georgia is our first system font alternative for Mercury Text. It is widely available on both Windows and Mac operating systems and can be used when Mercury Text and Frank Ruhl Libre are not available.

Times New Roman typeface example.

Times New Roman is our second system font alternative for Mercury Text. It is widely available on both Windows and Mac operating systems and can be used when Mercury Text, Frank Ruhl Libre, and Georgia are not available.

Learn more about downloading and using fonts from Google Fonts.

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Using Type

Line Spacing (Leading)

Line spacing, called leading, is critical to setting professional-looking type that is easy to read. Leading should be set tight, but not too tight.


Loose leading can disrupt a layout and cause too much pause between lines.

19 pt text with 38 pt leading is too loose.


Tight leading can cause strain on the eyes and disrupt the letterforms.

19 pt text with 14 pt leading is too tight.


Correct leading allows for a balanced paragraph and increases legibility.

19 pt text with 22 pt leading is balanced and correct.

Design Note

Keep legibility in mind when setting the leading. Setting the leading value to 2 pt above the text size is a great starting point, then you can adjust it accordingly. Generally, leading for smaller text like body copy will be greater than that of larger text like headers.


Letter Spacing (Tracking)

Correct letter spacing, called tracking, makes type easy to read. Tracking that is too loose or too tight disrupts the flow of text and strains the eyes.

Correct tracking allows for a balanced paragraph and increases legibility. Generally, ideal tracking falls somewhere between -10 pt and 10 pt.

Design Note

Ideal tracking can vary based on the default tracking of the typeface you are using, text size, and casing. Generally, default to tighter tracking for larger text and looser tracking for all-caps text.

Tracking for Gotham

Loose tracking disrupts the flow of text.

Text set in Gotham with +100 tracking is too loose.

Tight tracking disrupts the flow text.

Text set in Gotham with -100 tracking is too tight.

Correct tracking allows for a balanced paragraph.

Text set in Gotham with -10 tracking is suggested for a balanced paragraph.

Tracking for Mercury

Loose tracking disrupts the flow of text.

Text set in Mercury Text with +100 tracking is too loose.

Tight tracking disrupts the flow text.

Text set in Mercury Text with -100 tracking is too tight.

Correct tracking allows for a balanced paragraph.

 Text set in Mercury Text with 0 tracking is suggested for a balanced paragraph.

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Accessibility: Typographic Hierarchy

It is important to properly nest typography headings in print and digital design. Headings make your content easy to scan. For sighted users, headings create visual order. Screen-reader and assistive technology users rely on headings to navigate websites and digital applications.

Headings are ranked H1 through H6 and must be used in order. H1 represents the most important idea on a page or screen. An H1 can only be used once. H2 through H6 represent subsections. Remember not to skip levels when creating subsections. For example, you can go from H2 to H3, but you cannot skip from H2 to H4.

To learn more about creating accessible headings online, refer to Digital Communication’s Common Accessibility Mistakes web page.

Heading Hierarchy Example

  • H1 Heading: Page title
    • H2 Heading: Main topic
      • H3 Heading: Subtopic
      • H3 Heading: Subtopic
        • H4 Heading: Sub-subtopic
        • H4 Heading: Sub-subtopic
    • H2 Heading: Main topic
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Setting Visual Tone with Type

Contemporary

Leverage Gotham’s many different weights to create contemporary type hierarchies. Gotham is a versatile typeface that can be used in a spectrum of ways ranging from subtle to bold and contemporary to traditional. Heavier weights of Gotham (like Bold, Black, and Ultra) can generally be used in headers to make your communications feel bolder; lighter weights (like Light, Book, and Medium) can be used to make your communications feel more subtle. Always set body text in Gotham Book for optimal legibility.

Contemporary/Subtle

Use lighter weights of Gotham in communications to maintain that contemporary edge.

An example of contemporary and subtle type setting with the respective visual tone spectrum grid in the bottom-right corner.

Contemporary/Bold

For bolder communications, use heavier weights of Gotham for headlines and set them in all caps.

An example of contemporary and bold type setting with the respective visual tone spectrum grid in the bottom-right corner.


Traditional

Use a combination of Gotham and Mercury to make your communications feel more traditional. Since Gotham is our primary typeface, it should always be present in our communications. Avoid setting entire communications in Mercury, as this starts to feel a bit too traditional and runs the risk of being off-brand. In general, consider the typographical balance between your headers and body text: if you set your headers in Mercury, use Gotham for body text; if you set your headers in Gotham, use Mercury for body text.

Traditional/Subtle

Combine Gotham and Mercury for a more traditional visual tone. In subtler communications, lighter weights of Gotham can be used as headlines.

An example of traditional and subtle type setting with the respective visual tone spectrum grid in the bottom-right corner.

Traditional/Bold

Use a combination of heavier Gotham weights and Mercury accents to make communications feel bold and traditional.

An example of bold and traditional type setting with the respective visual tone spectrum grid in the bottom-right corner.