Typography in Logo Design: Putting The Right Font Forward
In this month’s post about logo design, we’ll talk about what might be the most important aspect: Typography. We’ll discuss why typographic choice is so important to the integrity of a logo, what the commonly used styles are, and how they can be effectively used in a logo design. So stay tuned to learn about typography, the backbone of good design.
Use of typography goes back to the most fundamental of design principals: Form follows function. Without words that mean something, no matter how beautiful a design is, it serves no purpose and thus fails as design. So, the most important facet of typography is the message, then style can follow.
Among others, the dominant styles of typefaces are sans-serif and serif. Sans-serif typefaces include Helvetica, Futura, and Univers to name just a few, and serif typefaces include the ever-popular Times, classic Garamond, and the more modern Rockwell.
The former being stated, we can then elaborate on the most commonly used type styles in logo design. Because logos are meant to be easily read, the obvious choice would be a bold sans-serif. Logos such as Fed Ex, Starbucks, and Facebook use this approach to get their brand across. The result is a modern, straightforward approach that is easily styled with color, layout and texture. The drawback of this style is that if it isn’t finessed correctly, it can easily be lost in the crowd of sans-serif logotypes out there, and the result is an un-memorable, generic logo. Advantages to using sans-serif logotype are that it can be morphed into any style, is very clean and easy to read. This type of “empty vessel” typeface is the ideal choice for a skilled typographer who can mold it into something unique and stylish.
In other designs, serifed typefaces play the dominant role. Logos such as Coach, Honda, and Sony use this style to communicate their brand. The advantage of using a serifed typeface is the sheer number of sub-styles this category offers. For instance, a typeface with serifs can communicate wealth, lineage, antiquity, and even futuristic undertones. The drawback is that sometimes serifs make a typeface slightly more difficult to read than a sans-serif, so serifed logotype must be carefully chosen.
Among other popular typographic styles are script, decorative, geometric, and abstract. Many logos, however, use a combination of these styles, and the results can be stunning and unique. Logos such as Louis Vuitton, eBay, and the Amazon logo use a combination of logotype styles to create their unique look.
Once a type style has been established, unique touches and adaptations can be made in order to tailor the logo for what it represents. This can be done in any manner of ways, from replacing a character in the logo with a unique one, using imagery to replace a character, manipulating the shapes of characters, or even molding several characters together in order to unify the message of the logotype with the type it’s self. It should capture the spirit of the company, and the brand that organization is trying to build.
All of these elements combine to create a finished logo that effectively communicates the identity a company wants to put forth. Without the use of masterful typographic style, none of that would be possible. So next time you look at a typographic logo that is successful, analyze what the designer did in order to make this happen. Is it simply words typed onto a surface, or was there careful thought and planning that make this logo so effective? Chances are, it’s the latter. After all, anyone can type out a “logo” in Word, but only a person with a designer’s eye can create something masterful with simple type. Let us know what your favorite typographic logos are by commenting on this post!
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