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Trade Gothic Alternatives: 10 Stunning Fonts That Are Similar to Trade Gothic

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The Trade Gothic font traces its origins back to 1948. That’s when Jackson Burke – a book designer and typeface creator who spent much of his career with Mergenthaler Linotype – created the typeface. Though it’s a sans serif font by nature, Trade Gothic distinguishes itself by featuring a lot of irregularities in the character design that set it apart as unique compared to a sans serif font designed to ensure legibility or neutrality above all else.

Those unique touches make it a good choice for designers. It’s an especially strong choice for those who wish to lend a sense of character or style to their work, as Trade Gothic delivers straight lines and a lack of unneeded curvature – perfect for projects that require sharp and well-defined characters.

Burke iterated regularly on the initial version of Trade Gothic, eventually reaching a point where the font had 14 style and weight combinations by 1960. That experimentation has continued long after Burke’s passing, as anybody who has experimented with the font’s digital releases may be able to tell you. It’s not uncommon to see the default bolded weight of the font, for instance, be considerably thinner and more condensed than you may expect. For Trade Gothic the more typical – and wider – bold style is often an alternative rather than the standard.

So, it’s an interesting font, which likely explains why you’re here: You love Trade Gothic and would love a chance to get your hands on some alternatives. Here are 10 – offered on either Creative Market or Fontspring – that are similar to Trade Gothic but have interesting features of their own.

10 Strong Trade Gothic Alternatives

HK Grotesk Pro

If the experimentation with weights is what draws you to Trade Gothic, then this font – released by Hanken Design Co. – will be right up your alley. As you can see from the above image, you get a choice of 11 weights, all available in italic variations, with ExtraBold and Black options for those who prefer a font that’s a little thicker. Hanken notes Trade Gothic as being one of the key inspirations for this font, too, though it also points to the softer edges of Univers playing a role. You’ll see hints of both here, meaning you get a multi-purpose typeface that’s ideal for print and digital use.
Starting at$45

Il Increments

Take a dash of the gothic font design style, add in a touch of the grotesques, and mix it all with just a hint of inspiration from musical theory and you get Il Increments – a font that’s dedicated as much to rhythm as it is legibility. In a slightly punny description, the Increments Type Foundry calls this a “composed sans serif,” and it’s really hard to argue with them. The characters are set within a structured grid – similar to musical notes on a sheet – and carry a level of harmony that allows each letter to seamlessly flow into the next. Function is obviously key here, though the rhythmic touches help separate this font from more “mechanical” options.
Starting at$75

Neue Swiss

Available in eight weights, Neue Swiss is designed to offer the versatility that you love in Trade Gothic, only with a leaner design philosophy that sees its characters take on a thinner edge. You could see this as a parallel to Trade Gothic’s later approaches to bolding – more condensed than expected, but not so much as to create an unpleasant reading experience. The modern lines used in Neue Swiss make it a good choice for many design projects, with print, web, and branding all falling under its remit. But make no mistake – this is a font for the minimalist. Every letter and character are pared down to its bare essentials.
Starting at$59

Vikive Family

Combining the Gothic and geometric styles, Vikive is another font that has somewhat condensed lettering that makes it a good choice for projects that require a minimalistic touch. But there’s also some flair – check out the ampersand in the above image to see how Eurotype has made interesting use of straight lines and unclosed curves to create a unique spin on an old character. Each weight comes with a matching italics style, with the font also having 398 glyphs available in total. It’s also compatible with several central European languages.
Starting at$23

CA Saygon Text

Developed by the original CA Saygon Display font, this text-based variant of CA Saygon is a little calmer and warmer, making it a better choice for creating long-form texts, such as books and flyers. You’ll note hints of Akzidenz Grotesk in the design, though this isn’t an “old and stuffy” font that’s a slave to classical design philosophies. It’s modern – as highlighted by the larger letters – and has the exceptional legibility needed for a font that’s supposed to be used for large blocks of text.
Starting at$40

News Gothic

The original News Gothic font has an even longer history than Trade Gothic – it was first created by Morris Fuller Benson in 1908. This version of that classic font maintains the classic American sans serif style you’d associate it with, but translates its style into the Bitstream format so that it’s now a strong choice for digital displays. Narrow proportions and large x-heights characterize the font – similar to how they do the same for Trade Gothic – and there are some unconventional relationships between form and proportion on display. However, this lack of conventionality doesn’t damage the font. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s still highly legible.
Starting at$30

Hamburg Serial

A collection of 12 fonts – which you can purchase individually if you don’t want the whole family – Hamburg Serial echoes Trade Gothic in several ways. You’ll see this in the geometric aspects of the characters, as well as the interesting curvature in letters like “a” and “r.” It’s a stretch to call either unconventional, though there’s a certain stylistic flair here that isn’t always present in the Gothic fonts. Clarity, along with slight condensing, is the order of the day. The font is easy to read, albeit it can start to look a little “scrunched” when font size is reduced, making it a good choice for larger marketing materials.
Starting at$14.99

Plymouth Serial

SoftMaker makes a quick return to the list, with Plymouth Serial echoing much of what makes the previously mentioned Hamburg Serial such a great choice. However, there are clear differences. Compare the “a” and “r” in the above image with that for Hamburg Serial and you’ll see an ever so slight widening of the curves. It’s small, but it’s there. Barring that, the font is multi-purpose and ideal for any application for which you might consider Hamburg Serial or Trade Gothic. Consider it if you need something sleek and legible for print applications, such as magazine or flyer text.
Starting at$6.99

Core Sans

There’s one thing that distinguished Core Sans from every other font on the list – it’s available in Korean as well as English. Immediately, that makes it a good choice for translators and global marketing teams, as does the large spacing between the characters seen in the font. Clear and clean writing is the focus here – legibility is enhanced because each character is given more than enough space. So, think of this as a Trade Gothic alternative for somebody who’s not a huge fan of condensed writing. You get space, while still keeping the simple designs that ensure readability.
Starting at$50


A “playful Grotesk” is how Font Foundry describes Tenso, and you’ll see elements of that playfulness in various places. The exaggerated curve at the top of the lower-case “f” for instance, or the half-line topping the upper-case “J.” Both are fun little twists on the classic sans serif style that lend the font a personality while not taking away from its legibility. Still, the hints of the grotesque style are certainly there, as you’ll see in the elegant “g.” So, the font is exactly as advertised – a superb Trade Gothic alternative with just a dash of whimsy.
Starting at$19.95

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does the “Gothic” Mean in Trade Gothic?

In modern times, “Gothic” has basically become a synonym for sans serif, which in turn is an ancient Greek term used to denote fonts that don’t use decorative serifs in their characters. However, Gothic fonts tend to be just a touch more elaborate than a typical sans serif. You still won’t get the tails, but you’ll see little touches of flair here and there that make a Gothic font seem less “robotic” than other sans serifs.

Did Jackson Burke Do Anything Other Than Design Trade Gothic?

He did! We mentioned in the introduction that Burke was a book designer as well as a font creator. That manifested in his creating the TeleTypesetting System, which print magazines used for several decades both during his life and after he passed. On the font front, he was also responsible for the creation of several typefaces beyond Trade Gothic – Aurora and Majestic being the two most notable.

Do Any Magazines Still Use Trade Gothic?

Several, with Vice perhaps being the most prominent. It tends to combine Trade Gothic with Hector Rounded, allowing it to create contrast within its pages without relying on using fonts that are so dramatically different from one another that they end up clashing.
You’ll also see Trade Gothic used regularly in the University of Alabama’s branding and marketing materials. The same goes for Heidelberg University.

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