Saturday, February 18, 2006

What's in a Font?

Selecting a font set representative of the firm essence was an incredibly difficult part of creating the brand package. How many fonts are out there anyway. 10,000? 1,000,000? Probably more.
I just needed two. A serif and a sans-serif. The serif would be my title/headline font and the sans was for general text. Typically headline fonts are sans and text are serif.... You know, the whole thing about serif fonts being more readable in text sizes. But I wanted to turn things over a bit to propogate being different.

Serif: The font we chose is Garamond. It has a very classical look and feel; Like the type in classical leatherbound books and old documents, yet it has a modern feeling and clean line in its swoops and accents. And definitely not Times New Roman (the choice dejure of most law firms). As a headline font it bolds up very nicely without loosing detail or ornamentation.

Sans-serif: We went with Helvetica, the Swedish grandfather of all Macintosh sans-serif fonts. As the font most associated with Mac's, and generally not available on PC's (PC's use the Microsoft created and unauthorized Helvetica clone, Arial) it has an open and readable flow that adapts well to most text situations. And because of its very modern feel was the perfect font to contrast Garamond.

Helvetica, as a text font will also provide me with the ability to monitor presentations and papers produced internally. Because Helvetica is only installed on marketing department PC's I will be able to immediately identify papers and presentations that are being prepared or distributed by mustang attorneys or staff.

Both fonts work well in large and tight spaces..... Our ad campaign uses a wide open, large volumes of white space grid while our web site uses a tighter page grid to maximize space without forcing a user to scroll.

Since my first computer (purchased in 1984) I have been a devotee of fonts as graphical expression. Like pictures a font can make or break a message. It communicates feeling and evokes emotion. Selecting the right font set for a brand is as complex as picking the right color.... Maybe even tougher because differences are so tiny from one to the next.
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