To kick off a new decade, 1960 Topps baseball cards hit the market with a new design concept that Topps hadn’t tried before. Horizontal layouts were something they’d featured before, sure. But this time, the cards featured a split-pane look, dual player images, and player names where every other letter alternated in color.
The typeface used for these two-color settings is what I consider the quintessential American typeface, Franklin Gothic, originally designed by Morris F. Benton in 1902 for American Type Founders. Shorter names make use of the Wide cut. Type historian Mac McGrew mentions that “although Benton started a wide version along with the others, it was abandoned; the present Franklin Gothic Wide was drawn by Bud (John L.) Renshaw about 1952.” The condensed style used for the team names and positions is Alternate Gothic.
This post was prepared on the suggestion of Mike Schmidt – thanks!