The New Face of the Nationals

I had the pleasure of attending a Washington Nationals game recently. I’ve been a fan since before they arrived in DC, as I had the good fortune to work with Washington, DC’s bid group in “luring” the Expos from Montreal. The team has come a long way since their days in RFK. And at the particular game I attended—my first of the 2018 season—I was happy to see a new face among all the Nationals. Not Soto in the outfield or Reynolds at the plate or Martinez in the dugout—although it has been great watching them play and manage—but Gotham, up on the scoreboard. Yes, Gotham… the National’s new typeface.

As of this season, Gotham replaces Trade Gothic—the scoreboard typeface since Nationals Park opened in 2008—on the scoreboard and in their marketing materials. According to an interview Nationals chief revenue and marketing officer Valerie Camillo gave to the Washington Post, the change was made because Gotham, “was modern, it was clean and very versatile.”

Gotham is a wise choice. It’s a typeface that’s engineered more than it is designed, stripped of any superfluous elements and created specifically for a hard-working, no-nonsense, modern image. A great reflection of the day-in, day-out of a 162-game season, the grit of the men who play the game, and the directness of the data behind today’s sabermetrics.

Trade Gothic

Trade Gothic

Trade Gothic on the Nationals Park scoreboard in 2015. (Brad Mills / USA Today Sports)



Gotham on the Nationals Park scoreboard in 2018.

Gotham can also be easier to read at a distance, thanks to its reasonably high x-height (the designation used for the height of lowercase letters) and wide apertures (the negative spaces or holes in some letters, like o or n). It is extremely flexible, includes a number of widths and weights, and, appropriately for a scoreboard, Gotham also features a complimentary numeric style range (numbers).

At Hager Sharp, we use Gotham as a typeface for a client with similar characteristics: the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The clarity and transparency that Gotham evokes is ideal for this data-driven institution, the Elias Sports Bureau of national education statistics. We use it in the signage for NCES’s conference booths, in short brochures with minimal text, and online.

Want to know more? The history of Gotham is quite interesting and can be found on the website of Hoefler & Co, the type foundry GQ magazine commissioned to create the typeface back in 2000.


Mike Gallagher
Executive Creative Director

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Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: A Slippery Slope?

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that genetic testing company, 23andMe, can inform people of their breast cancer risk linked to three specific BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutations—without involving a doctor. These gene mutations are most common in people of Ashkenazi Jewish decent, but they are not the most common BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations among the general population.

The announcement sparked some debate. Is it a step forward in cancer care or cause for alarm? 23andMe believes that marketing these types of tests directly to consumers is “incredibly valuable for those who might not be aware of their Ashkenazi Jewish descent or aren’t familiar with their family history of cancer.” There’s certainly an argument to be made that open access to genetic information is a good thing—it can arm consumers with important information, help them take control of their health, and even save lives. But what if people misread, misinterpret, or do not understand the results?

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The Ugly Side of Social Media Exposed

Does social media encourage the worst in human nature?

Having spent the last decade working in social media, I’ve seen a lot of bad behavior. From nasty Facebook comments to people berating each other in forums, I’ve brushed it off by telling myself that passionate people are more likely to express themselves online. Middle-of-the-road people don’t bother.

recent study in Science has me questioning whether I’ve been too optimistic all these years. Over the last decade on Twitter, the study found that falsehoods in news were much more likely to spread than accurate news, and spread more quickly. Even more depressing, authors found that humans—not bots—were more likely to share the falsehoods.

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What Are Our Options for Addressing Gun Violence?

Over the past several years, we have seen engagement in social change in the U.S. unlike any that I have seen in my lifetime—from Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ equality to climate change, TimesUp and now gun violence prevention.

Last year I wrote about my experience participating in the Women’s March on Washington and what social and behavioral science can tell us about why we march and why protest marches can be a successful tool in social change. As I plan to participate in the March For Our Lives on March 24, and because I am a social marketer, I find myself reflecting on how social marketing can be best utilized to tackle our society’s wicked problem of gun violence.

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Beyond Bedside Manner: Effective Provider-Patient Communications

Effective communication between provider and patient is a critical component of all patient-centered care. As a health communications professional, I appreciate this fact. As a mother/patient/caregiver, I appreciate it even more. 

We’ve all had that moment in the doctor’s office either as patient or caregiver… “The test results are positive,”…is that a good thing? “The numbers are borderline,”…so we’re in the clear until next year’s exam? “We will explore palliative care,”…is that the same as hospice?

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