C.H. Griffith was commissioned by the American telephone company, Bell, to design a typeface which would be particularly suited to small, compressed sentences and inferior paper quality. The font was intended for use in the company’s telephone books. Griffith had already had experience with the conception of newsprint fonts and was interested in legibility issues. In 1922 Griffith created the Legibility Group, which contained particularly legible fonts predestined for newspapers. Bell Gothic has all the typical characteristics which optimize a font’s legibility.
The modern heir of Bell Gothic is Bell Centennial, designed by Matthew Carter in 1974 in celebration of the Bell Company’s 100th birthday.