March 10, 2018
When I tell people I’m a designer, they sometimes ask, “Does the world need another typeface?’ I tell them typography is important because letterforms, like the human voice, have character and personality, which communicate with us even before the words they form do. The medium is the message, the “how” matters as much as the “what.” And also like a human voice, type has its own distinctions, biases, patterns, pitches. Even the untrained eye will unconsciously receive these signals.
When a typeface reaches ubiquity it becomes banal or worse, contemptible. For brands, the risk in using these familiar faces means losing their individuality. It’s why IBM ditched Helvetica last year and Nike is distancing themselves from Futura. Brands—like people—are unique and the smart ones use type to communicate their values.