Fonts, Fonts, Fonts!

By Kate Lau

Yesterday, November 3rd, Scout brought in Charles Nix from Monotype to dissect for us the inner workings of Typography.

Monotype is a company based on creating fonts for companies and businesses, as well as for anyone who wants access to their 10,000+ fonts. You’ve probably seen their work around, as they’re employed by some of the biggest brands around including Kellogg, Target, Condé Nast, and more. They work in the business of creating both fonts for customers for general use, as well as customized fonts for brands based on company logo and ~vibe~.

One of the projects Monotype has worked on was creating the font for Southwest’s logo. They started by taking the Southwest heart icon and using it as the model from which to base the font family that would be used in all of Southwest’s media content. Monotype focuses on two main points of focus when creating a brand’s custom fonts: Consistent brand expression, translation between devices/platforms, as well as usability well into the future of emerging technology.

For those of you unfamiliar with what in the world Typography exactly is/does, Practical Typography defines it as “the visual component of the written world,” and goes on to say “ty­pog­ra­phy per­form[s] a util­i­tar­ian func­tion. The aes­thetic com­po­nent is sep­a­rate. Be­ing an ef­fec­tive ty­pog­ra­pher is more about good skills than good taste.” Like most design practices, Typography is about functionality and problem solving. The aesthetics are just a hopeful byproduct of the work that goes into creating a solution.

As Nix explained to the audience, no two fonts are the same, each has been created with a different purpose in mind, be that to match a brand like their work for Southwest, or to modernize the look and feel of older typefaces. Sometimes, font families are just made to be unique and fun, but how they are used can communicate a lot to the target audience. No-frills fonts with hard angles and bold lines can communicate seriousness, while lettering fonts which are hand-drawn, customized fonts can communicate less seriousness and more authenticity. Companies like Monotype are working to expand the options we have when communicating, because typography is an integral part of everything we read and communicate to each other, especially within the rise of the digital world.

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