The ITC Avant Garde Gothic® design was one of the first typeface families released by ITC – and continues to be one of its most popular. The basis for the typeface was created in the late 1960s for a new magazine conceived by the forward-thinking publisher and editor, Ralph Ginzburg. The publication was called, fittingly, Avant Garde. Herb Lubalin created the logo and Tom Carnase drew the alphabet based on Lubalin’s sketches.
OpenType® technology makes a complete version of ITC Avant Garde Gothic possible, offering the full breadth of Lubalin and Carnase’s design. ITC Avant Garde Gothic Pro includes all the original characters plus a suite of additional cap and lowercase alternates, new ligatures and a collection of biform characters (lowercase letters with cap proportions). The original design contained a suite of 33 alternate characters and logotypes; ITC Avant Garde Gothic Pro more than doubles this number.
ITC Avant Garde Gothic is classified as a geometric sans serif design, meaning that its basic shapes appear to be constructed from circles and straight lines. The design’s heritage has sometimes been traced to the geometric sans serifs produced by Bauhaus designers in the mid-1920s. However, the design has its foundation in the first sans serif ever produced – a cap-only face issued by the Caslon Type Foundry in 1816.
Lubalin’s logo for Avant Garde was an exciting construction of overlapping and tightly set geometric capitals. After developing the groundbreaking logo, Lubalin turned his rough sketch over to lettering artist and type designer Tom Carnase, his partner at Lubalin Smith Carnase. Carnase rendered the final art and designed additional characters and ligatures to set the headline for each department of the magazine. Soon there were nearly enough characters to complete an entire alphabet – and the Avant Garde Gothic design was born. This was later licensed to ITC.
The ITC Avant Garde Gothic family is made up of five weights and four condensed designs, all with corresponding italics (obliques). The condensed designs were drawn by Ed Benguiat in 1974, and obliques were designed by André Gürtler, Erich Gschwind and Christian Mengelt in 1977.
ITC Avant Garde Gothic design has become a solid staple in the repertoire of today’s graphic designer. The lowercase x-height and open counters help to make this family ideal for display copy and short blocks of text content. The ITC Avant Garde Gothic design is used in the corporate logo of Adidas and is one of the main typefaces in Sony’s corporate marketing programs.