I spent many years living in the sprawling suburb of Arlington, TX, which lies west of Dallas but is in Tarrant County with Ft. Worth, the city I consider my hometown. With a population of 365,438, Arlington is no small bedroom community; it’s the 50th largest city in the country. It’s home to the stadiums where the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys play, the University of Texas as Arlington, amusement parks and scads of suburban staples such as malls, strip malls, chain restaurants, and endless apartment complexes and housing developments. It’s also the latest US city with no public transportation system.
The logo for Alrington’s revitalized (or maybe just aspirational) downtown (which didn’t exist when I lived there) is one of the most appalling applications of Gotham I’ve seen. Worse than fast food and craft store signage. Worse than lazy, thoughtless “We’ll just use Gotham and a shitload of kerning” branding. The Ransom-style multi-typeface lettering for “downtown” recalls the worst of ’80s and ’90s typography. The selected typefaces don’t compliment each other (or Gotham) and don’t clash in an exciting, dynamic way. The strokes and gradients recall first year design student work, circa 1995. The color scheme is just as out of date.
Today, I feel sorry for Gotham.