Goldman Sans?

Hey all! I'm writing a news story about Goldman Sachs' new corporate font, and was wondering if anybody would be willing to speak to me re: whether it's a well-designed, aesthetic, and otherwise good font. Especially interested if you could talk about specific details of the font that make it more distinctive, legible, and unique (or not).

Please DM me if you would be willing to speak over the phone. Many thanks!


  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 552
    The lc /a reminds me of a laughing kid's head, so I like it :)
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,872
    The only interesting thing about the whole project is the (probably unenforceable) license agreement terms prohibiting use of the fonts to disparage Goldman Sachs—which was of course the immediate use of the fonts. The design represents what is becoming the norm for corporate custom typeface development: lack of courage and imagination, and increasing desperation on the part of type designers trying to figure out ways to minimally differentiate the design from the ones they created for for other clients with the same lack of courage and imagination.
  • While generally I agree with @John Hudson's sentiment about boring custom type, I also feel like there is a place and time for courage and imagination, and designing for one of the biggest players in the banking business is neither the place nor time. More than anything, they need to communicate reliability and sensibility, and I would say they've achieved that.

    Of course technically and in terms of craftsmanship it's an excellent typeface, but I don't think that is a surprise coming from Dalton Maag.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,235
    There is nothing wrong with the design, it is well crafted. I just wish it had some character, something that hints about the company instead of plain contemporary typeface.  I certainly don't blame Dalton Maag. I am quite sure that the committee of suits from Goldman Sachs who worked with them, did the best to make it very, very, "safe".  What is the point of getting a custom font done for your identity when it does not identify? The goal of identity design is to establish brand and set your firm apart from many others.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,872
    Right, Chris. Here is the custom colour font developed as part of NatWest Bank's rebranding in 2016. Banking doesn't have to be boring. The Goldman Sachs font doesn’t suggest reliability and sensibleness so much as timidity and, especially given the much mocked license agreement, insecurity.

  • That typeface makes type the hero of the company’s visual identity, I like that. I’d only wish Nat West would re-patriate to their noble Black of the old days … at one point.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,235
    The problem with Branding and bespoke typefaces is that the running text face is rarely the one that evokes the brand at all.  The display face that has some visual meat is the one that will be remembered, even if it is a bit lower on the readability scale! "See something say something" is not the same as READ something. There is a role for the graphics and semiotics that transcends reading words. There needs to be a graphic means to transfer the branding concept. Think of it like character acting, you have an image, a shtick that says you look like who you are trying to be--and that is not always a neat and tidy package. An investment bank opposed to a breakfast cereal food, a fashion house vs a plumbing supply firm.  You have to read the room, recognize the players and dress them to show themselves in the right light.
    I am sorry, after 50 years of doing corporate identity design, or what is now called branding, I have in with too many meeting with "the suits" to know what they are about. There were a few like Bernham at Westinghouse who really worked with Paul Rand and let Rand do good work, but too many corporate types are thinking about getting their face and words in to push their own advancement rather than the best result for the company. Let the designers do their work.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,534
    I don’t see much news in this design.
    The legibility thing, with big x-height, serifed /i and tailed /l, is old hat.
    Recently, a corporate sans included different versions for text and display, that was news.
    This does have VF though. I wonder how giving users variable options intersects with brand consistency—or is it controlled by the templates?

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