MVB Solano Gothic was originally designed as a display face for the City of Albany, a small town on the east edge of the San Francisco Bay. Named for the city’s main street, the typeface needed to work on signage in proximity to early 20th-century buildings, as well as in contemporary settings. Mark van Bronkhorst’s design is a strong, condensed sans serif that references pre-digital letters of all sorts, from metal architectural lettering to hand-painted signs. The style is not overtly retro, however. It sits comfortably on contemporary-styled web pages, and the straight-sided forms are especially well-suited for the pixel screen where MVB Solano Gothic is recommended for use at sizes 14px and up.
Since the initial commission, issued only in Bold, Solano Gothic has been expanded to a family of five weights, all the way down to a crisp Light. The fonts are also equipped with optional simplified forms for ‘a’, ‘g’, ‘l’, ‘M’, and ‘Q’ which can be accessed through the Stylistic Sets feature in OpenType. Small caps (with matching figures), fractions, and a variety of arrows are also included.