Consistent use of typography across University of Iowa communications strengthens the university's visual identity. Varying simple typographic qualities like weight and size creates order and clarity, allowing us to more effectively communicate with our audiences. 

Font Guidelines

Typography creates aesthetic tone, which impacts the overall feel of communication pieces. Combining serif and sans serif fonts is the easiest way to create contrast and increase readability for your audience. When combining typefaces, weights, and colors, please keep in mind that mixing too many fonts on a single page can have the opposite effect and muddy the hierarchy. Mixing fonts and font qualities is most suc­ess­ful when each has a consistent role throughout the document. For example, you can use one font for headlines or titles, another font or weight for the body copy, and a third for callouts and pull quotes.

The Office of Strategic Communication recommends Gotham, Whitney, Archer, and Sentinel for use within the UI visual identity system. These fonts are versatile enough to cross platforms and allow for strong typographic design in both print and web uses. Each is available in a wide range of weights and widths, which may be used to create contrast and hierarchy.

 

Sans Serif Fonts

Gotham is a confident and bold sans serif typeface with four different widths: regular, narrow, extra narrow, and condensed. It is modern in style, with wide letterforms. Within the UI visual identity, use Gotham regular or narrow as a primary font. 

  • Use for headings, subheads, body text, captions, pull quotes, et cetera.
  • If using for body text, use regular or light weights.
  • Limit use of ultra weights and extra narrow and condensed widths; they can become fatiguing to the eye if overused. 
  • Use narrow widths in limited cases, such as data figures within charts/graphs, lists, et cetera.

Print/Desktop Licensing for Gotham

 

Whitney is a modern and versatile sans serif typeface that works well for both editorial demands and large display type. It is compact, yet features a large x-height that makes it easy to read at small sizes. Within the UI visual identity, Whitney is used primarily for web body text.

  • Use for body text in web design
  • Limit use of heavy weights and narrow and condensed widths; they can become fatiguing to the eye if overused. 

Print/Desktop Licensing for Whitney

Alphabet and number characters along with various type weights shown in the font Gotham
Gotham
Alphabet and number characters along with various type weights shown in the font Whitney
Whitney

Serif Fonts

Archer is an easy-to-work-with slab serif typeface that combines antique and geometric styling within its letterforms. It provides a pleasant contrast to Gotham. Within the UI visual identity, use Archer as an accent or to draw emphasis to emotive words or calls to action in display size type.

  • Use in print as an accent or for emphasis
  • Avoid using for body text

Print/Desktop Licensing for Archer

 

Sentinel is a versatile slab serif typeface that works well across a range of sizes. It is a good solution when a serif typeface is desired for body text in print. Within the UI visual identity, use Sentinel as a secondary font to Gotham. 

  • Use for headings, subheads, body text, captions, pull quotes, et cetera.
  • Avoid using for web body text; serif fonts are generally harder to read online. Sans serif fonts are recommended for digital body text.

Print/Desktop Licensing for Sentinel

Alphabet and number characters along with various type weights shown in the font Archer
Archer
Alphabet and number characters along with various type weights shown in the font Sentinel
Sentinel

Licensing and Implementation

Web License

At this time, the Office of Strategic Communication is able to provide a university-wide license for these fonts (for web use only). There is no charge to use them on any site or application under uiowa.edu. For information about how to implement the fonts on your site/application, visit the Using the Shared Fonts page. 

Print License

Print/desktop licensing is available for these fonts at typography.com. Several bundle options exist at varying costs. Though it isn’t necessary to purchase entire collections, the Office of Strategic Communication recommends the following bundles within each font family: 

Contact osc-brand@uiowa.edu for additional guidance on bundle selection.

Font Substitutions

If you are unable to purchase a license for print use (or in situations where the recommended fonts are unavailable), use one of these alternative system fonts.

  • Arial as a substitute for Gotham and Whitney

  • Georgia as a substitute for Archer and Sentinel

Iconography

Font Awesome is an open source library of 600+ vector icons that are easily deployed in website design. They can be sized and colored with CSS just like typographic fonts. To search and view all of the available icons, review the Font Awesome icon library. Don’t forget to use Font Awesome’s accessibility features so your icons work for as many people as possible. 

Frequently Used Icons

Font Awesome icon examples

Type Hierarchy

Combining complimentary typefaces and making use of various weights and point sizes is important for establishing balanced hierarchy. In general, Gotham and Archer work well together because both have wide letterforms. Whitney and Sentinel work well together because their letterforms are narrower.  

Below is a framework for using these typefaces, but it should not limit possible variations and expressive use of typography.

Hierarchy sample showing Gotham and Archer typefaces
Hierarchy sample showing Sentinel and Whitney typefaces

Questions? Contact osc-brand@uiowa.edu.