The first cuts of Trade Gothic were designed by Jackson Burke in 1948. He continued to work on further weights and styles until 1960 while he was director of type development for Mergenthaler-Linotype in the USA. Trade Gothic does not display as much unifying family structure as other popular sans serif font families, but this dissonance adds a bit of earthy naturalism to its appeal. Trade Gothic is often seen in advertising and multimedia in combination with roman text fonts, and the condensed versions are popular in the newspaper industry for headlines.
The first of the typefaces that were to eventually make up the Trade Gothic family were released in the late 1940s. Developed by Jackson Burke, who was the director of typographic development at Mergenthaler Linotype at the time, the faces went by the simple name of “Gothic,” with a numeric suffix (Gothic No. 17 through Gothic No. 20). These were condensed sans serif designs that proved to be very popular for what was then called “jobbing” or “trade” work. It wasn’t until several years later that designs of regular proportions were drawn and the group of faces was given the name “Trade Gothic.”
In 2009, Akira Kobayashi, type director at Monotype Imaging’s Linotype subsidiary, took the design of Trade Gothic and updated it to modern digital standards in Trade Gothic Next.
The Trade Gothic family can be used in a wide variety of projects, and the condensed versions are excellent for headlines and other instances where space is at a premium. This also makes Trade Gothic a good choice for typography with Web fonts.