Personalization is of central importance when it comes to expressing your own personality. In every situation and in almost all industries, we are looking for individuality. The reason? We want to feel unique and be different from everyone else.
It’s no different for companies: Companies also want to stand out from one another. Especially when it comes to branding: Uniqueness and recognizability are key elements for successful communication and economic success. This is exactly why brands are created, graphic elements whose main purpose is to make a company or an organization recognizable.
Graphic design elements and brands: symbols, logos, and … fonts!
In the infinite expanse of the branding universe, one encounters numerous graphic design elements with the help of which a company makes itself unmistakable. The best-known graphic elements that serve to identify a brand include logos. These graphic symbols represent a product, a service, a company or an organization. A logo typically consists of a symbol, a signet or a graphic representation of a name.
There are two main types of logos:
The figurative marks are simple, intuitive images, which stand for a company. They can come across as figurative or abstract or create an association. These logotypes must be instantly recognizable, easy to remember and also work well in every imaginable size.
Wordmarks represent a company with the help of its name (or in the case of a letter or letter marks also with the acronym generated from them) and put it only on the lettering. The typographic style of the logo is unique and must be clearly different from any “namesakes”. Even with this type of logo, legibility is the key to success.
When developing the corporate design (CD) for a company, other graphic design elements play a role in addition to the logo, such as one or more fonts used for all elements of the CD. In recent years, a trend has emerged among large companies: They are designing their own, exclusive font (or commissioning the design) instead of choosing an already existing font.
Customized fonts found their way into the technology industry around ten years ago. The goal was to save money by eliminating license fees for existing fonts. Today, however, the focus no longer seems to be on savings, but on the desire for individuality.
A font specially designed for the company communicates the company identity through every text, no matter how small. It is definitely one of the most important instruments for conveying the individuality of the brand in all media.
Even though the cost of a custom font for large companies can run up to $ 100,000, there may be long-term savings. We present 4 brands that have decided on their own corporate font.
YouTube: clear font with cult character
YouTube, the most famous video platform in the world, underwent a “brand refresh” in 2017. The following year, the company decided to introduce its own corporate font, YouTube Sans.
The starting point for the development of the new font from YouTube was the “Play” button. The icon of the button has been further developed so that harmonious corners and curves are created.
Because it is precisely this button that inspired the font designers to create the shape of the individual letters: The curves match the rounded corners of the icon perfectly, and the diagonal lines take up the triangle in the center.
The main objective of this font is to express the aesthetics of the company. This font is unusual and expressive, but simple and concise, just like YouTube itself.
Olympic Games in London 2012: a font that refers to the gods
2012 found the games of the XXX. Olympics held in London. A brand identity with countless elements was created for this monumental event. Of central importance is the brand.
A symbol was created that represents the numbers 2, 0, 1, and 2 embedded in a square composition. The spirit of the city and its architecture served as a source of inspiration. The most important property of this logo is its flexibility: It can enter into a dialogue with the logos of partners and sponsors and can be used as a frame in which images and multimedia content can be inserted.
One of the design elements created for the brand identity of the 30th Olympic Games is its own font. The “2012Headline” was developed for use in headings and large-format, relevant lettering.
This font is based on another font from 1997: The “Klute” is based on the Gothic script and ancient graffiti. So it’s no wonder that this font was the inspiration for the design: The letter shape refers to the world of the ancient Greeks and the ancient Olympic Games.
And to answer the question often raised by skeptics why the “o” is completely round: It creates a link to the Olympic rings, the symbol of the games par excellence.
Prada: a font that strengthens the connection to the brand
Prada is one of the most famous fashion houses in the world. The company, which was founded in Milan in 1913 and is now managed by the granddaughter of the company’s founder, Miuccia Prada, has achieved a high level of brand recognition over the course of its history.
The company logo has remained almost unchanged since the company was founded. The font is still the same even though it has been perfected over time. In the fashion industry, this logo is one of the trademarks with the highest recognition value: unique and legendary.
In 2012, Prada decided to create its own corporate font in collaboration with a design agency. This is how Prada Candy came about, a so-far unfinished project, quasi “work in progress”.
The project was developed out of the desire to increase awareness of the logo, expand the brand’s most important resource and expand its uniqueness to all means of communication.
In the course of time, this font was given the task of reintegrating both new products and those that had moved away from the “brand idea” into the Prada brand world. So the aim is to create an additional connection to the brand with the font.
From a technical point of view, the font design was only about the use of capital letters and a few words. In this way, the reference to the logo and the originality could be retained during the standardization.
Apple… one font for all systems
Some companies only use the one-word mark, others a combination of the word mark and picture mark. Very few companies can afford plain and simple to use a symbol without any font. Apple is one of the lucky ones. The company is so well known that the famous apple is enough to recognize the fire.
Since the company was founded, this figurative mark has only been changed slightly and has always had a very high recognition value. The word “Apple” is rarely seen next to the symbol.
But what about a corporate font? The company used Helvetica for many years. Probably the most famous font in the world is known for its clarity and simplicity.
In 2013 Apple decided to develop its own font, the San Francisco. The company is known for its reduced, minimalist style and so a sans serif font was created that at first glance looks very similar to Helvetica.
The design of this font is also based on the pursuit of individuality. By developing a font that is used for every product and thus seen by millions of people around the world, the company strengthens its own identity.
In addition to the desire for uniqueness, Apple acted out of very practical considerations. When designing the San Francisco, even the smallest detail was tailored for optimal readability on the screen. The shape of the individual letters is ideal for use on electronic devices, especially those with small screens.
In conclusion, it can be said that even Apple with its logo, which differs from the previous examples, requires its own font recognized. The figurative mark is very strong and immediately recognizable, but a tailor-made font is required to convey the personality of the company with all elements of the corporate design.
This font also highlights two aspects of the corporate philosophy: Apple’s minimalism and the pursuit of maximum legibility.