The dilemma: should we create a new corporate typeface?

—Josep Palau

Thanks to the Internet there is a spectacular amount of typefaces available online. Technology has made it so easy for us to access even little known typefaces created by small studios that at any other time would not have received commercial distribution.
In Ideograma we usually recommend obtaining typefaces from prestigious studios, mainly because typographic design depends on considerable artistic and historic knowledge of letters. For example, we follow with great interest the work of Erik Spiekermann, Lucas de Groot and Jeremy Tankard, whose names and work are synonymous with quality.
Tailor made typefaces
An alternative that is becoming more affordable and really interesting, any way you look at it, is investing in a typeface, which can be designed especially for us. We would be its legitimate owners and it would have particular and original attributes that will have been designed in response to specific requirements, in answer to both expressive and functional needs.
It is not hard to find good typographers, we are literally spoilt for choice. If creating a new typeface might not be inexpensive, it is feasible, economically speaking, when compared with the overall costs of the implementation of a new corporate identity.
What is certain, however, is that it is an option that requires time. It’s wise to start designing first the most dominant font within the type family in order to accompany the earliest pieces of communication, including the logotype.
It is also possible to modify already existing typefaces to respond to a specific need. For example, Ikea uses a light serif version of Futura called Ikea Sans, redesigned by Robin Nicholas, based on the original created by the German typographer Paul Renner in 1927.
Another example is that of Radio y Televisión Española: a modified version of Officina (a Spiekermann typeface) is used in reduced resolution, adapted specifically for use on televisions or computer screens.
Used adequately a typeface is one of the most important tools of an identity. However, not enough time or attention is regularly invested in this area. Let’s not forget that typography is actually a software, therefore, we must take into an account when purchasing and using a typeface, to obtain enough licences for legal use in each computer.  


Josep Palau

Partner and managing director

Pep is skilled at managing both left and right hemispheres. A charismatic Catalan, he loves to tell stories that are often lessons of life. He is a partner in Ideograma, a brand guru, and the light that guides Ideograma in Mexico.

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