Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Corporate typefaces are all the rage

This isn’t a recent phenomena. Corporations have been creating their own typefaces since the beginning of type. But, lately, I’ve noticed more and more that they are using it in their marketing efforts or because the scale of these corporations make it cost prohibitive not to make their own typeface.

Let me pull these two things apart.

Corporations will often choose a typeface, or set of typefaces, to use in everything they do. Jujama, as an example, uses a variation of DIN in most of our work so far. This way materials made by them will all be unified and recognizable. However, in this age of enormous scale some typeface licenses make it nearly impossible to use one off-the-shelf.

For example, Netflix recently created their own font called Netflix Sans, saving them millions of dollars in licensing fees. Even if their design team spent 18 months making this typeface (which they likely did, or more) the savings would far outweigh the investment.

But then there is the less pragmatic reasons for creating your own typeface – such as Arby’s Saucy AF (which is an acronym I will not dissect here). It fits their brand, is fun, and likely doesn’t not impact the bottom line much.

Other recent examples I’ve seen include Airbnb’s Cereal (which, if you know the company history, is a fitting name), IBM’s Plex, and eBay’s Market Sans.

I seem to see at least one corporation per week updating their identities with all-new, custom-made, typefaces. I think it is great. And what fun to work on! I do not have the skills, yet, to make my own typeface but I can imagine a time where I give that a try.

E16: The Dark Crystal, Netflix, Amazon and more

Danny and I sat down on Saturday afternoon to chat about a few things. Below are a few links relevant to our conversation.


Download MP3

E12: The Mac, RSS feeds, Shopping, and Stranger Things

We hit our stride in this bit. Danny and I have a Sunday-evening chat about how Apple could move away from the Mac and survive, RSS feed habits, shopping for clothes (naturally) and Stranger Things.

Site Danny references is Woodpile Report.

Download MP3

Watching the Jaws anthology 

For the sake of humanity, and because Netflix took the time, effort and expense of adding these movies to their library, I’ve watched Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 3-D, and Jaws: The Revenge.

Do you know how sometimes your memory of a thing can make that thing seem better than it really was? This seems to happen a lot with things like TV shows, cartoons from my childhood, music and movies. In the case of these Jaws movies I remembered each for being far better than they really are.

Jaws stands out far and away as the best movie of the lot. Spielberg managed to squeeze in enough technique, enough suspense, some incredible characters, and a few great lines into the movie so that it seems to age a bit longer than the others. It isn’t great. If it were made today it’d be laughed at. But for the time period is was well made.

The others, they aren’t worth watching. They are laughably bad. Bad acting (even from good actors like Michael Caine), bad lines, poorly shot, and terrible editing. Notably: Every line uttered by the deputy from Jaws 2 and the “stand off” game from Jaws 3-D, also Michael Caine’s “Perhaps he has indigestion he already ate my plane”. How did any of that make the cut?

If you see these movies in the recently added section of your Netflix app skip them.