The use of typography

—Josep Palau

We are considered to be civilized because of our ability to read and write. We are able, as a result, to leave a legacy to future generations. The world of letters and their particular forms is an ancient, complex and fascinating custom, which has accompanied man since the beginning of civilization.
 
Like wineglasses –which we don’t appreciate as much as the wine that they contain– the printed letter is at the service of the text and the reader; the design of each typeface can improve, moderate and even complicate in the most unexpected way the experience of reading.
 
There are emblematic cases of the use of type in the world of corporate identity. One that is frequently cited as a reference is that used by Volkswagen; since the end of the 1940s the carmaker has used Futura in all its communications (take a look at other iconic examples of the famous American publicist Bill Bernbach in the 1950s). Also consistent in the use of a typeface is Apple, who since the 1980s used Garamond, only replacing it in 2002 with Myriad when the monochrome apple substituted the coloured version. Finally, the example of Absolut, the Swedish vodka, that depends heavily on the use of the corporate typography, as well as the profile of the bottle, in all its advertising and communication.
 
It is clear that typography is one of the most important elements of a corporate identity, but not completely in terms of the construction of an identity. Ironically, Absolut uses the same typeface Futura as Volkswagen, but in the condensed Extra Bold form with capitals, which gives the brand a particular personality, one which we all recognise. They are not the only ones; Swissair, Union Pacific, Boeing, RAI, Hewlett Packard, Home Depot and CNN all use Futura too, but in every case the results are clearly distinct and unique.

The choice of a typeface depends on what the communication is intended to achieve, as well as its functionality.

In Ideograma we tend to look for relatively unknown typefaces because they allow us to impose our own better-defined proposals of personality rather than opt for typefaces that are found in any computer. We also ensure that they sit well and do not compete with the symbols we create, especially as they have a greater role in what needs to be communicated.

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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