fonts.com blog
Posts Tagged ‘brand’

by Alan Tam

Designing with Web fonts in Photoshop software has never been easier with the Fonts.com Web Fonts extension. This product was born out of the creative challenge of integrating and designing with Web fonts in your creative process. Having the right fonts available is both critical and a time saver for your creative workflow. You will no longer need to spend countless hours creating various resolutions of text images or resorting to those dreaded, uninspiring Web safe fonts when designing proofs and prototypes.

Easily preview and design with over 20,000 typefaces from Fonts.com Web fonts directly in Adobe Photoshop

Now in beta, the Fonts.com Web Fonts extension is accessible directly within your Photoshop canvas where you can apply font styles to your selected text layer. The extension syncs with the projects and fonts in your Fonts.com account to bring your favorite fonts to your Photoshop environment. You can also browse the font gallery and add new fonts to your project directly within the extension. The extension will automatically sync with your online account to ensure that your projects and fonts are available as well.

Should you need to take your creative development offline, the extension enables you to access and apply Web fonts that have been added to your projects in a disconnected environment!

When your creative proof or prototype is ready for production, simply publish your project from your account online. Best of all, the extension beta is free with your Fonts.com Web Fonts account. Learn how you can get started today!

Help create a better product experience by providing your feedback and input on our product user forum.


by Julie Strawson

Having globe-trotted from Hamburg, I arrived in New York City to a hail of thunderstorms to hold the third meeting of the Brand Perfect Tour. My goal was to join brand managers, creative directors, Web designers and developers to debate the future of branding in the digital space.

Hosted by Lee Aldridge, chief brand officer at Young & Rubicam Group, who introduced me, I began by recapping previous Brand Perfect forums in London and Hamburg. Themes had emerged from these events, such as “kill the logo,” and the “brand book is dead.” There were also questions about whether the traditional notion of brand consistency matters. What would New York bring?

Lee Aldridge set the context for discussion. His session focused on the shift in brand values toward social media, culture and responsibility. He made the point that digital goes way beyond the Web, and as screens surround consumers both at home and at work, there are more and more opportunities for brand presence and interaction. This is a mass market phenomenon, not restricted to a privileged demographic, and the secret to success is knowing why the consumer should want to engage, what to deliver that is contextually relevant and how to maintain the dialogue. Brand authenticity depends on the action taken to a communication in real time – the here and now. Organizations must support this throughout their structure. Getting attention is harder than ever, and brands must think more creatively about how to engage. Giant holographic images of products such as sneakers and juicy pizza were cited as one way to do this.

Charles Bigelow, the Melbert B. Carey professor at New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology, followed with a fascinating study on the emotional values that typefaces were shown to purport, based on an analysis conducted by R.I.T.  on 18 to 25-year-olds. The study showed that some typefaces have brand personalities, and choosing a typeface that reflects the tone of your message and indeed your own brand personality can help to carry the voice of your communication more effectively. The study found that Web-safe fonts afford fewer connotations in communications than non-Web-safe display fonts.

Charles Bigelow

The Brand Perfect New York panel discussion featured Paul Owen, executive creative director, Landor Associates New York, Johannes Schardt, co-founder of precious, a Hamburg–based design and development agency, and Dennis Michael Dimos, newly hired creative director of Monotype Imaging.

Paul Owen made the point that technology has only just started to catch up to enable where brands want to be. “We are in constant beta mode,” he said, and keeping up with technology is a bigger task than ever for brands and their agencies. Technology trends can lead brands down tracks that aren’t appropriate. Highlighting the iPhone® device, Johannes Schardt mentioned that he constantly asks, “Why do brands want an i-Phone app? Usually it’s not the best solution.” There was a lot of discussion about brand guidelines and the need to evolve these to suit the environment. “Read the book and then throw it away,” was the advice from Dennis Michael Dimos.

Paul Owen, Johannes Schardt, Dennis Michael Dimos and Lee Aldridge

Steve Matteson, creative type director at Monotype Imaging and the designer of the Droid™ typefaces, then talked about the way that a typeface becomes the voice of your brand. People associate with it in the same way they become familiar with other visual attributes. Similarly, type can be a very versatile way to change the tone of voice for a large corporate brand that wants to appeal to a different demographic in a different tone. He gave the example of Microsoft and its XBox® video game console.

The final presentation of the morning was delivered by John Oswald, business design lead at Fjord London. John posed the question, “Do we over-communicate, and are we driving consumers away with the continual push-marketing tactics employed in traditional channels that just don’t work in the digital space?” Focusing on designing very much for context with the individual at the heart of the thought process, John emphasized the need for visual recognition anywhere, authentic interaction and expected performance.

The Brand Perfect New York master classes were conducted by Rietje Gieskes of Landor Associates who looked at the value of creating bespoke typefaces to suit a brand. Daniel Rhatigan delivered a detailed class showing how to deliver richer communications with Web typography using Web fonts, including how to select fonts and manage layout across different platforms and browsers. The afternoon concluded with a highly interactive class on multi-screen design by Christophe Stoll and Johannes Schardt from precious, Hamburg, which was very well received.

Mark your calendars. The next stops in the 2011 Brand Perfect Tour are London on Oct. 4 and Berlin on Oct. 27.

The call for speakers is open! Would you like to contribute either a keynote presentation or a master class at the next Brand Perfect events? E-mail your suggestions to brandperfect@monotypeimaging.co.uk for consideration. Call closes 31st August.

Delegate places are now available – just e-mail brandperfect@monotypeimaging.co.uk stating the location you wish to attend to reserve your seat.


by Rebecca Schalber

We were more than overbooked for the second event on the Brand Perfect Tour – and when I took a look around the fully occupied rows, it seemed that everyone managed to make it!

Alexander Schröder, Landor Associates

Alexander Schröder from Landor Associates opened the event by talking about brand strategies for digital media.  Today the communication of brands is a public affair that’s no longer under the control of the owner of the trademark. Holistic brand management means to manage the brand experience in terms of communication, structure and behavior which demands corporate engagement from the top down and engineering throughout the organization, not just in the marketing department. Read more from Alexander at his blog.

Phillip Clement from bemoko (multi-platform software and Web development) then took the platform to talk about the challenges of fragmentation where brands only function on certain devices. He mentioned the Financial Times app which works just fine on the iPad® device but not on the iPhone® device. Twenty percent of customers are okay with that, but most aren’t, so the brand experience is damaged. We learn that “dead ends,” which are rarely found on the Web, are still normal in the mobile domain.  Although there is a focus on the iOS® and the Android™ operating system, in addition to a few other major platforms, we’re unable to control to which extent operating systems and appliances penetrate the market. It’s always a moving target.  Also the number of browsers is increasing…

Nadine Chahine’s talk about type and usability in new media started with a focus on brand interaction which is essential for the user and therefore essential for the brand’s reach. Superbrands or “love marks” work on an emotional level, but how do you get there? Apple, for instance, stimulates the same part of its “disciples’” brains as religious images do in the brains of their believers. The answer is through distinctiveness, unity, simplicity, design, authenticity and being the fastest to get attention.

And what role does typography play in all of this? Typography is the voice with which everything is being communicated. If you mess this up, you risk rupture between what you’re trying to say and the way you’re saying it. In the worst case, bad typography can give you a headache…The consistency of a brand’s personality is exuded through typographic consistency…“You don’t change horses in the middle of the race!” says Nadine. Every typeface has a personality, and you should choose the personality which fits best to the brand.

Dan Reynolds, Linotype, at panel

Dan Reynolds, Linotype, at panel discussion

Johannes Schardt, Dan Reynolds, Louisa Heinrich and Alexander Schröder took part in the panel debate.

How important is interaction in the brand’s theme?

Alexander Schröder:  – “BMW is a good example – the average driver of the BMW 7-Series is suddenly no longer 70 but 49 years old – the original target group was lost as it was now only buying Mercedes! Ergo: You can no longer rest on what you used to know; you continuously have to adapt your brand to the present circumstances.”

The lion’s share of a brand identity consists of its color and type. If these remain consistent, they help the brand become very familiar. But a brand is an experience. A cool logo doesn’t help when a company appears to be, for example, unethical.

“The graphic game with the personality of the brand plays an important role but it isn’t everything,” says Dan Reynolds. After that came the heretical question, whether a logo in the Verdana® typeface would then be okay: “The question isn’t whether Verdana is good or bad but whether we still need it today or whether we want to focus our attention on other typefaces,” says Dan.

The conclusion is: It’s important to question your brand’s (digital) presentation constantly for appropriateness every day.

Louisa Heinrich from Fjord then delivered her take on “where the brand breaks.”

“Today the brand has come home via mobile appliances and is no longer controllable, thanks to Facebook and Co. Stop stressing out about consistency – start thinking about context around your brand, because only 10 percent of a conversation is coming from what I say. The other 90 percent are coming from my body language or the color of my eyes. So for me personally, context is also the business of my friends to which I’m linked, the place I’m at, what I need, where I’ll be going. Technologically speaking, it’s the appliance, the operating system, the access point…”

People want to have control; there’s a lot of static noise in the world. All day long, we’re considering which content seems relevant to us. And we no longer read everything. Whatever we find exciting, we share with our network. If you’re doing it right as a brand, you’re supporting this current phenomenon. But many brands which are using, for example, Facebook, are the equivalent to the so-called “party buggers” who are eavesdropping on the door and then come in yelling “but that’s not right!” It’s also important that the digital brand experience goes with the brand: If a brand like BMW, which is associated with fast cars does something digitally slow, the brand loses its authenticity.

Louisa’s conclusion is: 1. design for context; 2. design for a brand in action; 3. design digital DNA.

After lunch delegates joined three master classes.

Working in small groups in a workshop, “strategies for multiscreen interaction,” led by the Hamburg design studio, precious, the delegates got involved in designing a customer Journey for the family Reifberger. How were they going to organize their holiday? What inspires them? What needs do they have when being on holiday and what is happening after the holiday?

Subsequently, delegates developed a new digital travel service together called the “Travel Butler.” The Travel Butler is discreet, always there when you need it, competent, elegant and sophisticated. Which applications and features does the Travel Butler offer? How can you integrate at least three different devices in a holiday cycle? What makes sense on a smartphone, on a personal computer, on a tray or on TV? Which needs are being met with the application, which problems are being solved with it? And how does the application work? What could the interface look like?

Dan Reynolds explained the different challenges we face using type on the Web and the practical considerations for applying typography in different environments. Using a tool to quickly show how selecting a different typeface can completely change the balance and tone of a Web page, delegates experienced Web fonts first hand. You can try too at www.webfontspreview.com.

Fran Gruber & Alexander Polzin (left to right), Fork Unstable Media

Frank Gruber & Alexander Polzin (left to right), Fork Unstable Media

The final class was “Times New Romance” – typo diversity in the Web.  Alexander Polzin and Frank Gruber of Fork Unstable Media asked the question, “Do you only want to watch or program with us?” (The answer was watching…) was a trip into the world of Web fonts that illustrated the clear advantages of applying fine typography to communications and the challenges different rendering environments pose.

On to New York City next…

 


by Vikki Quick

The New York arm of The Brand Perfect™ Tour is taking place on June 22 at The Ney Center at Young & Rubicam Group, 285 Madison Avenue, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Launched in May, The Brand Perfect Tour is a series of global forums hosted in London, then Munich and now in New York City, which bring together brands, brand managers, directors, designers and developers in a unique exchange of communication and discovery. The Brand Perfect Tour is not a singular company, a specific brand, or any one profession or organization – it’s ALL of that. It’s an open exchange of ideas, strategies, processes and technologies designed to improve brand consistency and the user experience in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.  

Join us in New York to share knowledge and discuss the collective challenges of building, maintaining, growing and delivering a unified customer experience. A task made increasingly more complex and demanding by real-time technological advances, multi-channel interactions and the unpredictable fluidity in consumer trends and “click-thru” behavior.

More information on the event and speakers can be found here. Reservations for the Brand Perfect Tour can be made at http://brandperfect-tour.com.

Speakers include:

Chuck Bigelow, Rochester Institute of Technology

Dan Rhatigan, Senior Type Designer

Dennis Michael Dimos, Monotype Imaging

Doug Wilson, Film Director

John Oswald, Fjord

Julie Strawson, Monotype Imaging

Lee Aldridge, Young & Rubicam Group

Paul Owen, Landor Associates, New York

Rietje Gieskes, Landor Associates, New York

Steve Matteson, Monotype Imaging

Mike Lundgren, VML


by Julie Strawson

Brand managers tell us the ideal scenario for a brand is to deploy consistent, pristine communications across all media: print, Web, mobile, TV, even into the home. But there are so many challenges for a brand to overcome to deliver a seamless journey that few are succeeding at present.

Once print was the principle platform to design for. Brand guidelines were created based on the requirements for printed material.  Now there are a plethora of digital platforms, browsers, tools and display formats and a different technical design ecosystem combining graphic designers, user experience designers and developers with little guidance on how to interpret their brand in these environments.

Reading Vincent Steer’s book Printing Design and Layout (first edition circa 1934) it strikes me that we’re at a similar inflexion point in the type industry now as it was then. In the 1930s competitive forces in the publishing industry and the growth of the advertising industry led to increased demand for different typeface designs. Printing technology demanded close attention to the then new art of typography to produce effective communications and increase sales.

The role of a typographer is to layout the message for optimum performance depending on the printing platform being used and the nature of the communication.

Today we have many different digital platforms to deal with and few typographers in the mix creating content. Achieving interactivity with a customer depends a lot on the discipline of typography.

Since font provision and support for typography varies so much on digital platforms taking brand typography forward is in itself a challenge. Web fonts have freed brands from the tyranny of system fonts giving yet system fonts still rule the fragmented mobile world.

While scratching the surface of the mobile market with the iPhone® device is relatively simple, capitalizing on the remaining 90 percent of the opportunity requires meticulous attention to detail in terms of planning language support and QA. It needs a truly global approach to development that begins with a consideration for typographic performance at the very start of a project, in the brand manager’s office, to be successful.

In the home, too, white goods are becoming the deepest consumer touch points yet. Whether deploying a digital user guide or relaying the latest TV commercial, there’s another opportunity here to delight and engage customers using light, on-brand content.

When considering brand consistency, consider all your touch points not each one in isolation.


by Allan Haley

I wonder about the importance of typeface library brand when it comes to purchasing of fonts. Those of us on the inside of type foundries tend to believe that brand is all important – that designers gravitate to a particular type library to look for fonts. True, type libraries tend to have “personalities” – or are collections of certain kinds of designs. The Monotype® library has many typefaces that are ideal for text setting, the Font Bureau® offering contains many nineteenth and early twentieth century revivals, the FontFont™ suite of fonts has several trendsetting designs, and the P22™ type library includes a large number antique and handwriting fonts.

Monotype P22 Type Foundry

Font Bureau FontFont

Brand Loyalty – Not

My guess is, however, when graphic designers are searching for a new font, they are looking for a particular design – or a particular kind of design. They may have their favorite online font store where they shop, but whether the font is from the Linotype® library, the International Typeface Corporation® (ITC) library, or the Font Bureau library is of little importance. I’m pretty sure that graphic designers shop for fonts – not foundries.

Linotype ITC

Come to think of it, graphic designers have always purchased fonts – or typeface designs. Back in the day, designers would create the layout and then order the type. Proofs were ordered from services that set type. Back then, Linotype and Monotype were primarily manufacturers of typesetting equipment. Savvy graphic designers may have bought their typesetting from a type shop that had a particular kind of typesetting equipment because they believed it produced better quality proofs than the competition – but most just purchased proofs of the Gill Sans® or Helvetica® or Century Old Style typefaces because that was the typeface they wanted their copy set in.

First Brands

The first important typographic brand that was not associated with a piece of typesetting equipment was probably American Type Founders – because it only made handset type. (No machines were necessary to use the type.) The next was ITC. In its first two decades of business, ITC only produced typeface designs, which it licensed to manufacturers of typesetting equipment. ITC did not start making fonts until the early 1990s.

ATF

I’m thinking that, today, it is more important for type foundries to invest in creating great new fonts than it is to spend money on brand building. Now, font stores – that’s where brand is very important. I’m pretty sure that FontShop is a much more important brand than FontFont.

Allan Haley
Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs.



by Allan Haley

Type is one of the most important aspects of any branding solution. Type can easily differentiate an entity. It can unify diverse documents and products. It can also build powerful brand recognition. These are the issues that faced the creative team responsible for the branding of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The team was, however, aware of the three general guidelines for choosing a typeface to help create a brand identity.

  1. If you can afford it, have a custom font created that is explicitly for your brand. If you can’t afford a custom design, choose a typeface that is both distinctive and versatile. The key is to pick something that walks the fine line between a bland design that is versatile and a distinctive design that will not be appropriate for a multitude of uses.
  2. Chose a type family with several styles. Roman, italic and bold versions of a family are almost never enough for a large branding system. Perhaps not immediately, but sooner or later the client is going to run into instances where condensed, very bold, or even other styles may be required.
  3. Use typefaces that have legs. There are more than 200,000 fonts in the world to choose from. Many have a short life – and then become about as fashionable as tie-dyed t-shirts. Brands are supposed to last a long time. Pick a typeface that will not look out of date in a short time.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee took all three of the guidelines to heart when they chose the Neo® Sans typeface design as part of the branding for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Ali Gardiner, vice president of brand and creative services for the Vancouver Organizing Committee, sums it up perfectly. “We selected Neo Sans,” she recalls, “because it felt contemporary and would represent Canada as a modern, progressive country, but it also feels like it will ‘age well’…which is important for Olympic design because it’s seen for decades and even centuries after the Games themselves. Neo Sans also has many weights, which made it practical across the tens of thousands of uses for which it would be required.”

To add a little more distinction to the use of the design, the Vancouver team requested that a special custom font be developed by Monotype Imaging. According to Gardiner, “We thought that a unicase font (one that had several lowercase characters designed to the height and proportions of the capitals) could be used for display text in a way that felt both warm and friendly as well as contemporary and cool, which was how we wanted to represent Canada to the world. It also had the potential to become a unique, recognizable typeface for Vancouver 2010, which was important as we established our own look and feel and brand identity leading up to the Games.”

Sebastian Lester, the designer of Neo Sans and the custom unicase font, is delighted that his design was chosen for the Winter Games. “I’ve always sought to design appealing, useful and versatile typefaces,” he says. “The face that the design was chosen for the Winter Games confirms that I met my goal with Neo Sans.”

Allan Haley
Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs.



by Simon Rockman

What mobile phone do you have? If you are reading this in the UK you are likely to answer “Nokia”, “Samsung” or “Sony Ericsson”. If you are not in the mobile world and reading this in the US you might answer “Sprint”, “AT&T” or Verizon. The US is the only place in the world where the operator comes first to the consumers mind but it is symptomatic of the battle between handset manufacturers and networks, or carriers, for who owns the customer.

A good deal of this is the user experience and part of that is Brand. Of course this is the fonts.com blog and we are interested in how fonts represent brand in the handset.

Ron Bird is the Lead UX Designer at Hutchison 3G where he is working on projects which help integrate the 3 brand and experience into the handset. He’s been around the mobile industry for a long time having worked at Nokia, Symbian, Fujitsu, Orange and Vodafone. At 3 he’s working on a service delivery mechanism that will help users enjoy the range of services 3 and their partners offer more easily.

You can have a look at some of his work, in particular some very effective shockwave animations at www.2birds.org.

The 3 network has built a very strong brand, and uses the fonts Verdana, Modena and Tahoma. While these haven’t made it into a phone or on to the keypads of devices the use of the fonts is a strong part of the 3 branding message.


by Simon Rockman

When two industries collide interesting things happen. People who have been into design and typography appreciate the value of fonts but tend to know about them from print on paper and not about the implications of phone technology.

Those in the mobile phone world know lots about display technologies but little about the value of fonts. Traditionally they have been about making the phone display as legible as possible and little thought has been given to the design.

Technology however has now caught up with design. Mobile phones have a screen resolution that allows the font to do more than just represent the letters.

They can now tell an emotional message.

When you read something the font has done a lot of its job before you start reading. Just as you form an opinion on the taste of a meal by looking at it, chefs are taught “the first taste is with your eyes” you form an opinion on what you are about to read by how it is laid out and the font before you read it.

We spoke to Matthew Menz, head of user experience for Motorola in Europe about how he, and Motorola use fonts in and on their phones. He sees the important role that the font plays in building the brand: “A single custom font has been created across the portfolio of products to provide brand continuity. Several aspects affect the screen design from x-height variations, to available weights & impacts to text translations.”, but you need to remember that Motorola is an international company and so the font has to be reflected in places where non-Latin fonts are used “Consistent typographical treatment is crucial”, says Matt, and it’s not just on the screen that this matters “Screen and physical presentation differ to ensure optimal legibility in each context. The distinction provides the necessary flexibility as it is applied to multiple languages.”

Building a phone is a series of trade-offs and cost is an important issue all the way through. Fonts take up memory and memory costs money. When every cent matters a smaller font is better, but how does Motorola strike a balance between memory footprint, legibility and conveying brand? “Very carefully.” says Matt, they do it differently for phones at different prices, “The balance between these factors are always in review as the tradeoffs are unique across the portfolio.”. One of those cost issues is processor power, there are special challenges are posed by low end devices which don’t support Scalable Vector Graphics (which make a font look nice at different sizes or alpha blending which lets fonts overlay other graphics with different levels of transparency. To deal with this on cheaper phones Matt says that “Multiple font optimisations are necessary to accommodate the variations in device support. Memory management is key for resource constrained devices.”

As well as the internal pressures of legibility, brand, emotion and memory footprint, some carriers want to specify fonts. Matt is a little enigmatic on this “Support for multiple fonts and font customisation within a single device continues to be a topic of discussion across the industry.” It’s a new field and something that is just starting to play out. Even newer is the ability for users wanting to use different fonts. Matt agrees it’s an important direction. “Providing typographical diversity is important, both in core OS rendering & application specific areas like the browser. The ability to support this is directly related to device enablers. The more powerful devices will continue to be as the leaders in this area and these benefits will cascade to the more resource constrained products over time.”

It’s good to see that mobile phone designers are thinking about fonts. A mobile phone is an emotional device – in Sweden the nickname for a phone is the same as the word for teddy bear. Better use of fonts can only make you feel warmer to your phone. Even if it is a text message from your boss.