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.