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: 640
    The lc /a reminds me of a laughing kid's head, so I like it :)
  • 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: 1,371
    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.
  • 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: 1,371
    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: 1,737
    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?

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,371
    Tabular figures? I don't know what "game" he is talking about.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,161
    ‘These fonts were made exactly the same way as 95% of other fonts. Gamechanger.’
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 899
    edited August 2020
    Craig, To be fair, it's both tabular figures and multiplexing he's talking about, but yes, I agree.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 841
    edited August 2020
    That the typeface used as a corporate identity for Goldman Sachs might be a bit on the dull side is only reasonable. I only looked at this thread after seeing the other one about the New York Times article.
    What struck me about the typeface, though, is that it looked very much like some other typeface that I remember seeing a lot. Even that isn't new. Life was just Times Roman with a small change, and a customized Caslon was made for a famous American college if I remember correctly.
    Akwe, and Dalton Maag's own Calmetta, are somewhat similar, but I may have been thinking of something else.
  • Although there are many differences between the two typefaces, I now think that I have identified the typeface to which Goldman Sans had a strong resemblance in general "feel", if not in details.
    It turned out to be right in front of my nose al along, which is why I failed to notice it.
    Noto Sans.
  • 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.
    Who can argue with something the New York Times found worthy of quoting?
    Not being a professional type designer myself, I wouldn't feel myself qualified to assess Goldman Sans in such terms, even if it did give me a feeling of déjà vu... which name for a typeface is, of course, taken (the extended Unicode version of Bitstream Vera, known as DejaVu).
    However, I think this raises a serious question. Corporate custom typefaces are one thing, typefaces designed for sale are another. In the latter case, one would expect that courage and imagination would be de rigeur, simply on the grounds that the only hope a new typeface has of attracting notice (and therefore sales) would be to stand out from the crowd and not be another me-too design.
    But on the other hand, the many imitation typefaces made in the photocomposition era illustrate another factor at work: when a new typeface with an innovative feature becomes fashionable, everyone wants it... and the originating foundry charges a high price for its fonts, which naturally encourages lower-priced producers to make knock-offs, whether in the form of imitations of the complete design, or simply original designs which take inspiration from the new fashion landscape the specific new typeface has created.
    And there also seems to be another factor at work here. Completely apart from any questions of the level of creativity on the part of typeface designers - that is, even if it were as high as ever - there are just so many new typefaces out there that it's hard to keep track of the worthwhile signal in the mass of noise. So the fact of creativity being harder to see may be creating an impression of their being less of it than is the case.

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,371
    The legal counsel of the deep pocket clients like these are usually quick to send cease and desist orders to the knockers.
  • Thomas RettigThomas Rettig Posts: 5
    edited October 2020
    Although there are many differences between the two typefaces, I now think that I have identified the typeface to which Goldman Sans had a strong resemblance in general "feel", if not in details.
    It turned out to be right in front of my nose al along, which is why I failed to notice it.
    Noto Sans.
    Somehow it reminds me of Tal Leming’s Queue typeface with that “i”, in my opinion. The newly-released Sora (on Google Fonts) also seems to be rather reminiscent of Goldman Sans. But the thing is, when there are so many similar fonts, you don’t even know who’s one is the original one.
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