The German monks at the time of Gutenberg used a black-letter writing style, and he copied their handwriting in his typefaces for printing. Italian type designers (after printing spread south) sneered at the style, preferring the type designs left by the Romans. As a term of contempt they used the word gothic, the style of the goths who helped destroy the roman empire.
Font Forge Glossary
In modern usage, Gothic refers to sans serif monoweight letters (for example, Letter Gothic). These have little contrast of thick and thin lines, and no ornamentation, yet still retain the intensive boldness of the traditional Gothic. After the invention of typography by Gutenberg in AD 1450, the traditional Gothic style of lettering fell into the shadow of Venetian Old Style typography.
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