A graphic mark or emblem used by a business, organization, or individual to assist and promote quick visual recognition. Since the advent of desktop publishing the demand and recognition of lettering for logos has waned and yet as the digital world is cluttered with generic fonts and logos, those unique and custom drawn marks stand apart.
Fonts versus Lettering
A ‘font’ is a collection of letterforms in a system that can be rearranged to represent text. ‘Lettering’ is the art of crafting and illustrating words, letters, and phrases. Both fonts and lettering examples possess a variety of personalities and traits derived from their structure, style, and identification. However, while thousands of fonts exist and many more are made every day, only a narrow range of them is considered “good” and an even smaller number will have the appropriate personality for a specific company. The ubiquitous and versatile Helvetica might be suitable (as companies such as Target, American Apparel, 3M, and Toyota have demonstrated), but neutral can also be commonplace. As the great letterer Doyald Young stated, “If you use a font, a client’s competitor has the same opportunity. You haven’t created a unique image.”
Recent Case Study
In a recent logo design I needed to develop a personal, almost vernacular referencing type, but with the structure of their product. Each project in developing letterforms joins the rich history of type development to seek balance between the relationships of shapes, images, and words. By combining transitional weight characters with flourish ornamentals, a unique personality could be imparted into the letters themselves. Along with a playful baseline curve and handwriting-based tagline, what could be an unmemorable computer-generated font, becomes a visual representation of a business. And isn’t that what a logo is for?