Handcrafted typography has a phenomenal impact on both business & brand
FONTS ARE HERE TO STAY. AND THERE’S MORE TO COME.
“But wait, aren’t there enough typefaces to choose from already?”
Keeping in mind that fonts are irreversibly imprinted in our existence and the majority of people don’t even notice them and instead just read the words, we see why this question still stands. However, if the purpose of typography was solely about spreading and receiving data, than we bet you wouldn’t feel so neutral if our world tomorrow looked like this:
Oh, wouldn’t that put brands in a pickle! Nonetheless, an emotional reaction is inevitable.
Truth is, even if you have little knowledge in the way of the letters, having your own preferences regarding typefaces still comes naturally. The higher function of typefaces is to be our medium to better visual and cultural communication, hence giving self-expression unlimited potential.
And what better way to stand out than to play dress up and make a great message LOOK the part.
Considering a custom typeface for your brand? Let’s discuss your options. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Going down in history: Bespoke typography enters the corporate world
What started out as artistic exploration from individual design artists and experimentation from brand development teams in companies, has transformed into a ground-breaking element in any corporation’s identity today.
Going back more than 100 years, corporate typography efforts have emerged in spite of technological limitations and historical conflicts. The works of visionaries like Peter Behrens, Frederic Goudy, Adrian Frutiger, Otl Aicher, Max Miedinger, Eduard Hoffmann, Kurt Weidemann and Gerard Unger went down in history as stepping stones to bespoke typography for the business world.
From self-made fonts, corporate design and icon systems, to typefaces such as “Goudy Sans”, “Copperplate Gothic”, “Rotis”, “Univers”, “Frutiger”, “Corporate ASE” and “Helvetica” — these are typographical achievements businesses like Nabisco, Pabst Brewing Company, AEG, Deutsche Lufthansa, Audi, Charles de Gaulle Airport, Renault, Daimler-Benz and Allianz pivoted their brand development strategies around.
Pick and choose your typeface: Corporate vs Off-The-Shelf
With a large volume of existing typefaces already available, is crafting your own corporate typeface just another trend businesses invest in heavily now? Thinking about how many times a day the same fonts occur over and over throughout every platform you use, recognising the advantages of a bespoke typeface means to take control over the attention span and position your business in a favourable way. Having ownership of a proprietary typeface is a strategic brand move, even more so — it’s the single most bulletproof element which reflects your company’s identity, statement and customer experience all at the same time.
Explore the Corporate Typography Pack
Unfold the world of corporate typography design and familiarise yourself with the building blocks:
- Font Development — handcrafting a bespoke typeface from scratch;
- Font Customisation — modifying an already existing typeface to fit the brand perfectly;
- Character Set Extensions — adapting and extending a typeface with custom character sets to meet multinational requirements;
In its essence, the typography pack is a rather flexible combination of services and every corporation decides how to mix and match for its needs and goals accordingly. The development of a bespoke typeface is always accompanied by consultations from the type design team in order to achieve a unique final product that speaks volumes about your brand’s identity.
DON’T SHUSH! YOURSELF
While on the topic of self-expression (a don’t-get-out-of-bed-without-it value of ours), let’s put it into the context of the sheer volume of communication channels, devices and various media we go through daily. With plenty comes the need for visibility and recognition.
The number of companies in search of their authentic voice is once again pushing the limits of visual communication and today, instead of shouting “EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!”, they are using the power of customisation in a new way.
Apple, Youtube, Netflix, Amazon, Airbnb — strip away all symbols and colours and you’ll still be able to recognise them in the crowd. Displaying individuality across all mediums, custom fonts are the modern voice of any company.
In its essence, the design of a custom typeface is a flexible process.
Whether it’s made from scratch, modified from an existing typeface, adapted for multilingual purposes or constructed to work with various software and devices — a custom font strengthens brand identity. Even moreso, it achieves the mandatory functionality of a brand by overcoming language barriers and bringing meaning where all other methods fail.
WHY ALL THE TYPE HYPE?
Having ownership of a bespoke typeface has more benefits than meets the eye. In our experience, visualisation works wonders, so we went ahead and hand-picked some of the projects we thought go best with the topic. Now, to the really fun part!
Extending your brand identity
A well-executed custom typeface has the potential of extending the brand identity and make any company instantly recognisable. In many successful cases, businesses have used their unique font to serve the same purpose as their logo. Remember Amazon? It’s a text-only logo and speaks volumes to a worldwide audience.
Other great examples are companies like Shutterstock and Axel Springer, which approached us for a new take on their logos. Shutterstock now uses a modified version of Uni Sans and Axel Springer — Mont, one of our most popular fonts to date.
Adding personal flair
Depending on how a brand wants to be seen by its audience, the proprietary typeface can translate the company’s overall feel into relatable letters and words. Is it corporate, bold, innovative or traditional? A brand’s personality needs to shine through every visual aspect it puts out there.
In order to popularise and solidify its brand in Bulgaria, the Norwegian telecom Telenor contacted us at Font Fabric foundry back in 2013 to develop Cyrillic versions of their corporate fonts — Telenor designed by Miles Newlyn and the display font Together by Pajama Consulting. Additionally, we designed a brand new display typeface from scratch based on brush handwriting to be used in their upcoming launch campaign.
The gate to Self-expression
It’s all about exploration and taking the opportunity to think outside the box without the limitations of standard fonts. Turning your gaze towards the brand’s core values might just be the next big step to unraveling the character that was missing all along.
It would be a miss if we didn’t mention a very exciting project we were approached for in 2017. The British tea brand Lipton has been using one of our best-selling fonts, Intro, as their corporate typeface for several years. In order to make their iced teas’ visual presentation more attractive, we worked with the renowned London brand design agency Design Bridge to develop a custom version of Intro Script exclusively for Lipton. The goal was to incorporate leaf elements into all letter loops, providing a distinct flair for the brand’s identity.
Your winning combo — Consistency & Innovation
When a company’s working to make its brand easily recognisable, using a unified approach across all key communication channels is vital. The ownership of a custom typeface ensures consistency occurring across every touchpoint of the brand, diminishes the risks of confusion among audiences and leaves room for future development from a technological point of view.
Last year, we worked on a very ambitious custom typeface after being approached by the agency Identity Works for a web adaptation of Nexa (a popular typeface of ours with a very recent update). The custom font went on to be used by their client Semantix.
The goal was to implement a design solution representing an interaction between two letters modified by a cut between them. To achieve consistency of the text block, our team researched the frequency of such digraphs in all 5 languages Semantix’s website is translated in — English, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish. Not only did we get to dig deeper into the usage of various languages, but we also developed the custom font Nexa Shine to work with different software, in order to make its web implementation by internal teams much smoother.
Going global through Adaptation
It’s vital to emphasize on the importance of the requirements for enterprise typefaces. It’s often rather difficult for global organizations to choose a font that is applicable for web, advertisement and in-house needs. In most cases, the bespoke typeface needs to work well for both online and offline purposes, meaning it has to support different languages and symbols, so the communication efforts on a multinational level are not lost in translation.
In 2017 we started working on an exciting project with our partners Polpharma. They wanted to extend the language support for one of the most popular typefaces in our catalog — Panton. Our task was to design for languages such as Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Lao, Mongolian, Tajik, Uzbek, Vietnamese etc.
Coming across a variety of design and technical challenges, with the help of renowned type designers and language specialists as close consultants, we successfully assisted the teams at Polpharma to enter foreign markets with even more confidence.
Creating a Memorable Impression
Standing out in the great pool of competitors is a substantial reason to start researching into the world of custom typefaces. After all, being different always turns quite a few heads, right?
Last year, we took part in Gradcore’s rebranding and worked alongside Supple Studio to execute a bespoke font based on a type champ of ours — Intro. It was to be used for headlines and product applications, inspired by the idea of bold and unexpected journeys.
We were also recently contacted by The Research Institute of Sweden with a request for assistance with their ongoing visual identity revamp. They were in need of a bespoke headline font that would complement the original brand typeface that had already been chosen — and to our surprise, turned out to be our beloved and well-known Code Pro.
We teamed up with their design studio and created a dynamic, yet grounded and legible typeface that would be used on their web page, as well as in-house production.
Making use of Alternatives
Many brands face the issue of licensing fonts that aren’t their property. Striving for uniqueness doesn’t have to be a costly and time-consuming investment. It is more a matter of desire to get creative and think about suitable alternatives with great results.
Customisation has always been about flexibility and individual approach and that’s exactly why brands can opt in for a unique modification of any of our existing typefaces.
Recently, we worked with Scope UK and London-based agency The Team to develop a typeface, built on our bestseller Uni Neue. The goal was to adjust it and increase its legibility in small sizes so that it works better with disabled people. The new typeface was named after Bill Hargreaves, who was the first disabled person on Scope’s board of trustees. The results speak volumes of their mission and we are proud to have taken part in it!
Owning a bespoke font is about control and flexibility.
Airbnb’s custom typeface Cereal was designed to work, and we’re quoting here, “from button to billboard”. But one of a kind fonts go beyond the scale of application. Typeface design teams carry the responsibility to think of ways to bend typography to not only fit the needs of a company in the present, but to also comply with new technologies that are yet to be popularised.
HOW DO I GET FROM HERE TO THERE?
Getting to the point where your brand’s identity is perfectly complemented by a bespoke typeface isn’t a leap of faith. If fonts are our arts, then we see ourselves as craftsmen when it comes to every partnership we’ve entered into.
We know our way around the type world and for the past 11 years we’ve been refining the process of custom typeface design and have implemented our system in countless successful projects. Like any other well-executed process, ours is inclusive and based on active transparent communication.
We’re committed to bringing our personal touch to every project, and do so efficiently, following a system that mirrors the overall branding process.
1. Consultation & Problem Solving
Initially, we’ll start off by discussing your brand’s needs and issues we’re aiming to solve. Building a detailed brief assists us in better consulting you on the direction your custom typeface might take.
2. Strategy & Planning
You’ll then be acquainted with a timetable, so we can all synchronise our efforts and create an uninterrupted workflow for every person involved.
3. Active Communication
You won’t be blindsided in any phase of the design process, as we prefer to keep a close eye on our communication and want to hear your opinion.
4. Testing and Optimisation
Custom typefaces are never just about looks. Usability and application are key in the creation process and we’re always optimising our products to work best with all technological requirements and outputs.
Your custom typeface comes to life when put into specific contexts. There’s nothing like a great visual representation to tap into the potential you’re about to unlock for your brand!
6. Technical documentation
To ensure you hit the ground running, we always prepare a detailed brandbook, which includes a short presentation of all customised elements, specific technical requirements and instructions on how to implement the typeface on your end.
7. Ongoing Support
You can rely on us to maintain the quality and functionality of your custom typeface to ensure smooth future implementations long after the project is complete.
Making an informed decision is key. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions to help you out:
How much does it cost to create a bespoke typeface design?
F: Taking into account that all projects vary according to the brand’s unique needs and goals, we approach every single one with a personal offer. The cost is flexible and we always take the client’s budget into consideration.
How do you handle the licensing of proprietary typefaces?
F: For the client’s convenience, we provide corporate licensing according to the business’s needs.
How long does it typically take to create a bespoke corporate typeface?
F: Depending on the project’s scope and complexity, the type design process can take anywhere from a month up to several years.
Do you offer additional brand identity development services?
F: As practised type designers, we focus our attention and efforts on all typographical elements of the design process and that might include the development of logos and logotypes based on existing typefaces of ours.
Let’s take the discussion further. Drop us a line at email@example.com