Century Gothic is a light, round Sans Serif typeface designed in 1991 for Monotype Imaging. It is a geometric Sans Serif, with similar curves, repeated across character for increased consistency.  The type designers were based on Sol Hess’s Twentieth Century, but Century Gothic has a larger x-height. According to Wikipedia, Century Gothic is actually closer to Avant Garde Gothic than Twentieth Century. The differences between the two include a lack of a descender on the lowercase “u” in Century Gothic (the lowercase “u” looks like a shorter version of the uppercase “U”, which is not common in typefaces) and larger and rounder tittles (the dots above the lowercase i and j) in Century Gothic and smaller square tittles in Avant Garde Gothic. The tittle for Century Gothic are actually wider than the rest of the lower case I and j, which is also less common. Century Gothic also has the unique features of single-storey lowercase a and g.

Like our Typeface of the Week last week, Garamond, Century Gothic is eco-friendly. A study by University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB) discovered the Century Gothic is the most “green” of the ten typefaces they analyzed, and saves 30% ink from their previous default, Arial. As Ecofont points out (in arguing their typeface is more eco-friendly), Century Gothic is a wide typeface, and thus will take up more paper. However, if you combine it with the eco-friendly narrow typeface Garamond, you may have a paper friendly “green” solution. As I said in the Garamond post, this is a lovely combination.


Category of the typeface[1]: Sans Serif

Serifs: None

X-heights[2]: High

Width and weight[3]: The characters are wide, but the weight is light. The face is the second widest face of the faces we have examined so far in the Typeface of the Week posts, second to Verdana. It is also one of the lightest, with Garamond. Check out the typeface cascades PDF to see the width and weight in comparison.

Structure[4]: Century gothic is a mix of very round curves and angular points. It has no variance in stroke (no thick & thins) beyond the slightly wider tittles (dots) on the i and j.

Legibility and Readability[5]: Century Gothic is both readable and legible. The high x-heights and lack of thick/thins make is a good screen typeface. The lightness of the face may make it harder to read by those with eye sight issues, but it is heavy enough to be comfortable for most readers.

Voice-over and ethos[6]: The lightness of the face and curves may make it appear feminine, but this is countered by the sharp angles on some letters (like the “W”). Dawn Shaikh, in her study on typefaces and personality found Century Gothic to be good, calm, slightly active, slightly cool, and happy. Overall, Century Gothic speaks with a clean, crisp, curvy, and slightly funky voice. The face would not have much ethos in highly traditional areas, but would work in business and professional settings where a bit of style is acceptable. It also works in space. According to Wikipedia, Century Gothic was heavily used in Star Trek: Enterprise.

Typefaces that contrast well with it[7]: Serif typefaces with also contrast well, including Times New Roman, Garamond, Palatino, Elephant, Book Antiqua, and Bookman. I recommend using Century Gothic with Garamond for a lovely contrast.

Typefaces that provide conflict[8]: Sans Serif typefaces will conflict, especially the close Twentieth Century and Avant Garde Gothic. Verdana is also wide, so it too will conflict more than most Sans Serifs.  Other San Serifs to avoid include Arial, Helvetica, Calibri, and Bell Gothic.

Likely audiences and uses of the typeface: Audiences include Starfleet members in 2150, children, and people reading anything printed at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Uses include as a contrast to Garamond in business and technical documents, websites, children’s books and sites, university printing, and any organization that wants to save toner and be eco-friendly.

[1] See

[2] X-heights: the height of the lowercase x compared to the uppercase letters. The higher the height of the lowercase x, the more readable the typeface. Ideally shoot for more than 50% for print and higher for online readability.

[3] Width and weight: Widths is how wide the letters in the typeface are. Weight is how heavy the typeface appears on a page the thickness of the strokes of the letters. A heavy typeface will look black and make the overall page darker, a light typeface will look lighter and make the overall page a shade of gray.

[4] Structure: how the face is built including thick/thin transitions, types of strokes, and more. If you were building the typeface out of materials, what would you use? Pipes? Fences? Thread?

[5] Legibility: the ability to make out/recognize small amounts of text such as a word or letters. Readability: the ease of reading a long body of text, such as paragraphs

[6] Voice-over and ethos: Voice over is the voice of the typeface or the style of the typeface. What style does the typeface suggest. If the typeface could talk, what would it sound like? Is it loud? Sassy? Quite? Formal? Would it be a valley girl or a New Your City business woman? Ethos refers to the authority of the text. When would this typeface be appropriate?

[7] Contrast: For good design you want to use typefaces that contrast. Clearly distinct faces contrast and create a strong design. If the faces are similar neither will “pop” and the similarities may look like a mistake and not intentional. Good contrasts are serif typefaces and sans serif typefaces.

[8] Conflict: The opposite of contrast. Two typefaces (or other elements) that are so similar they are disturbing (they “conflict”) and not contrasting, thus creating a weak design. Example: Times New Roman & Garamond.

References & read more:

Cattermile, Tannith. “Century Gothic is the ‘greenest’ font.” Gizmag.

“Century Gothic.” Identifont.

“Century Gothic.” Wikipedia.

“Ink and toner usage of Century Gothic.” Ecofont.

Typefaces of the Week Resources:

Something to say?