From 1948 through 1963, Jackson Burke was the Director of Typographic Development at Mergenthaler Linotype Co. in the USA. Linotype released the original weights of the Trade Gothic typeface in 1948. Over the next 12 years, Burke continued to expand the family, designing additional weights and styles.
There is a genre of sans serif typefaces often referred to as the “American Gothics,” in large part because they all have the word “ Gothic” in their names. In this case, “Gothic” does not refer to the Middle Ages or to blackletter, but is just another way of denoting sans serif typefaces. The first 20th century master of the American Gothic style is Morris Fuller Benton, who designed typefaces like Lightline Gothic, News Gothic, and Franklin Gothic. Jackson Burke and Trade Gothic follow nobly in these footsteps.
For a time, it was even seen a competitor to Helvetica. Today Trade Gothic is often seen in advertising and multimedia in combination with serif text fonts, and the condensed versions are popular in the newspaper industry for headlines. For all its success, Trade Gothic does not display as a coherent unifying structure across all members of its family, although this dissonance does adds a bit of earthy naturalism to its appeal.
Akira Kobayashi has been Linotype’s Type Director since 2001. In many ways, he could be seen as a distant successor to Burke. Linotype’s Trade Gothic Next is Kobayashi's revision of Trade Gothic. He refined many of the typeface’s details, such as the terminals, stroke endings, the spacing, and the kerning.
Additional elements that make Trade Gothic Next stand apart from the original Trade Gothic are the newly added compressed widths and heavier weights. The typeface’s Regular weight has been beefed up to make it appear stronger and more robust in text-seized setting. Trade Gothic is a staple of the advertising and newspaper industries, and now Trade Gothic Next brings more features and better quality for today's astute typographers.