Azo Sans is a geometric typeface design by Rui Abreu released in 2013. I decided to use this typeface because it is a prominent part of tourism in Toronto. At the beginning of my process, I was looking to find a font that represented Toronto or either the country of Canada. While conducting my research, I decided that I would stay away from the official Canada 150 typeface due to the fact that there is controversy with the typeface as the government did not pay the creator to use it.
I then went about to find things that represent the city of Toronto, the city I have come to love living in. There many different things that the city is associated with. After conducting all of my research, I came to the conclusion that the Toronto Sign at Nathan Phillips Square is a strong starting point and symbol that I can base my type specimen off of. The sign has turned the area into a tourist hotspot within the city, alongside the CN Tower. Azo Sans Bold is the typeface that is used for the Toronto sign, and I think the typeface compliments the city very well. A clean typeface that is easy on the eyes. A perfect choice for representing Toronto.
While browsing type specimens, I noticed a lot of them I saw didn’t help sell the font to me. The type specimens that were the most interesting to me were for the most part illustration focused. I saw that the illustrations paired with the type can be used as inspiration when deciding if I should purchase the typeface and how I could use it. I saw there was a lack of typefaces being paired with photography in the type specimens. I found this as the perfect opportunity for the type specimen I was creating to be paired with photography. That is when I had the idea to pair Azo Sans with iconic symbols that are associated with Toronto.
The Toronto skyline can be seen from many different angles and directions while traveling to the city. The skyline is the most dominant when you are looking at it from Toronto Island.
The Toronto Transit Committee is the main form of transportation for many Torontonians. While traffic is always busy in the downtown core, it is a fast alternative to travel by subway rather than driving through the city. The TTC also offers streetcar and bus services.
The CN Tower is a landmark that will forever be the first association to Toronto. From 1975–2007, the CN Tower was the tallest structures in the world. It is currently the 9th tallest free freestanding structure in the world.
The flatiron building was completed in 1892. Many people who walk past the building assume that the building is a replica of the famous Flatiron building in New York City. Although, the Gooderham building predates a similar looking building in NYC.
Nathan Phillip Square/city hall
City Hall is included in the type specimen because that is the main inspiration for the type specimen that I used.
At the end of the type specimen, I showcase the Toronto sign in order to connect all the pages together and feature where the inspiration for the specimen came from.
On my initial design, I left little breathing room on all of the pages. This didn’t work because it was hard to analyze all of the different weights without being distracted by all of the clutter that was on the page. Adding to the clutter, I initially thought it was a good idea to label all of the individual weights of the fonts by a different letter, using a legend system. This system added to the cluster and wasn’t pleasing for the eye to look at. The small 5 pt letters on the pages were annoying to look at which resulted in me removing them. There was a lack of the colour red on each of the spreads. On the redesign I created, I put more focus on the colour red to help with the contrast that was being neglected within the type specimen.
After revising the bad ideas that I had, I was given a better idea of how I can make my designs clean and focused on hierarchy. I grasped a better understanding of what the important things are within the specimen. The bad ideas gave me a better understanding of colour and how I can go about using colour.
The colour red has a strong association with the city of Toronto. The main things that are associated with the colour red in Toronto are the TTC, Toronto Raptors. The Toronto sign and CN Tower are occasionally lit up in red. The CMYK colour code that I used for the type specimen is the Canadian Red.
In the final design solution, I added big letters that took up the whole page that resembled the Toronto sign. I chose this design solution so that the specimen had a strong connection to the Toronto sign, which the specimen is inspired by.
The type specimen that I created is a successful project because the layout and the imagery showcases the typeface and will persuade a user to purchase the typeface. It is also a piece of editorial that represents the city of Toronto and the landmarks that are popular within the city. The colour choice contrasts throughout the pages and is relatable to Canadians.