Emanuele Abrate’s Study Has Us Thinking Twice About Fonts

When designing a logo, the choice of font is one of the most important decisions. And in some cases, the font becomes synonymous with the brand.

When writing an important letter or press release, many of us go through hours of torture looking through the fonts in the dropdown box on Word. Times New Roman? Too old-fashioned? Calibri? Too impersonal? Comic Sans? Just no. When graphic designers are looking to create a logo that will become synonymous with a company, brand and ethos for years to come, it is clear that the choice of font is a decision that cannot be taken lightly. In some cases, designers choose to create something entirely new and unique, but that is certainly not a prerequisite for designing a logo that will be instantly recognisable.

In fact, as a recent project by Italian designer Emanuele Abrate has demonstrated to great effect, many of the most instantly recognisable logos on the planet use fonts that have been around for years.

The Logofonts project

Abrate is a graphic designer, an educator at Libera Accademia d’arte Novalia in Savigliano and the managing director of Geneva-based design house Grafigata! He is also extremely active on social media network Behance, and it is here that he published what he calls the Logofonts project.

Like all great ideas, the concept is stunning in its simplicity. Abrate has taken some everyday logos that we all recognise but replaced the brand name with the name of the font it has used. The results have got the industry buzzing. Some of the examples on display show fonts that are truly commonplace. Spotify, for example, uses Gotham, while Nike and Red Bull, two of the most famous logos in
the world both use Futura.

These two examples in particular are notable in as much as they were part of the inspiration for Doug Thomas’s book Never Use Futura. While the book has achieved plenty of sales, its advice was clearly ignored by the designers behind many other
famous brands – Absolut Vodka, Dominos Pizza and many, many others are devotees to the font.

For other logos, the fonts are not so well known – at least, not by name. We all know the Netflix logo, but few would have been able to tell that it uses a font called Bebas Neue, and the Pico font for the Twitter logo is similarly obscure.

What’s in a font?

Abrate feels that the font used in a logo says plenty about the company, the designers and the message that they are seeking to convey. Discussing the project with US magazine Mental Floss, he said: “When I see a logo, I wonder how it was conceived, how it was designed, what kind of character was used and why.” He went on to explain that the Logofonts project was born from a desire to “understand which fonts they use or which fonts have been modified (or redesigned) to get to the final result.”

Leave a Reply