Logo Design Insight – Typography

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T-Mobile logo example

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Old StyleTransitionalModernSlab
Serif Fonts Are…

A classification of type that has decorative flourishes at the ends of strokes.

Terms Referencing This Style

Romans, Antiquas, Footed

Traditional, Time-Tested Type
Serif fonts are the oldest typefaces in use, and were the only style of type used by the original printing press operators. They were designed to mimic the ancient, chiseled type of roman times, where serifs were used to neaten the end of chiseled lines. There longstanding use gives them a traditional, time-honored feel. They were designed for print use, and as a result, have fallen out of favor as we move more and more toward viewing type on screens.
Serif fonts are primarily identified by their typographic flourishes, or little feet, at the end of their strokes. This feature aids in readability, allowing us to process words as a whole, as opposed to individual letterforms. This is an important concern with large bodies of text, but less so with headlines, or logos. As a result, they are seen much less in logos than their Sans-Serif brethren.
This is not to say Serif faces have no place in modern logo design. In fact, when appropriate for a brand’s image, they can have much more of an impact than Sans-Serifs. Serif fonts tend to have a much more authoritative voice, and can transmit a sense of trust and stability. They appear much more unique than a traditional Sans, and thus they tend to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
With the domination of serif fonts, the use of serif type will seem much more like a choice, or decision, rather than an expression of the default.

OLD STYLE

Red Lobster logo example
Google Example
Abercrombie Logo Exampe
Terms Referencing This Style

Geraldes, Humanist, Aldine, Humanist Axis, Venetian

Example Neo-Grotesque Typefaces

Caslon, Garamond, Jenson, Times New Roman

Old Style type originated as an homage to the Latin handwriting of scribes and philosophers. It displaced the Blackletter type used by printers prior to the Renaissance and was the first type style to incorporate italic letter forms. It is the best types for body copy and is used in many books, magazines and newspapers.
Visually, Old Style letters are distinctive in their off-centered vertical axis, which mimics the angle a right handed person would hold a pen at. It has a low stroke contrast, compared to other serif type, and the serifs are angled and bracketed, especially on lower-case letters. They also posess a very low x-heigth.

TRANSITIONAL

HSBC logo example
Sam's Club Example
United Healthcare Logo Exampe
Terms Referencing This Style

Neoclassical, Realist

Example Humanist Typefaces

Mrs. Eaves, Baskerville, Bookman, Cheltenham

Transitional typefaces first began with a French commission to design a face for the crown, literally the “King’s Roman.” They were produced to be a more rational letterform and initially set on a 48×48 grid. As a result, they are much less calligraphic as the pen’s influence has been almost completely removed.
Compared to their predecessors, Transitional type has a larger contrast between their thick and thin strokes. The axis of their curved letterforms is now completely vertical, and the wedge shape of their serifs are flatter than those in Old Style type.

MODERN

Modern Family logo example
Golden State Warriors Logo Example
Vogue Logo Exampe
Terms Referencing This Style

Didone, Modern Face, Romantic

Example Geometric Typefaces

Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, New Caledonia, Berthold

The distinguishing feature of Chiseled type is a triangular shaped serif design, flaring at its stroke terminals. This decorative flourish was added by engravers to hide inconsistencies caused at the edges of their strokes
Chiseled typestyles are aren’t classified as serifs, because they are inspired by handcrafted letters. Their inspiration predate the invention of lowercase letterforms, and as a result their fonts often only contain capitals. They have very little contrast in stroke weight and have serifs only on the ends of their strokes.

SLAB

Hermes logo example
IBM Example
Sony Logo Exampe
Terms Referencing This Style

Egyptian, Clarendon, Fat Face, Mechanical, Mécanes

Example Sqare Typefaces

Archer, Officina Serif, Aachen, Clarendon

Slab Serifs are a child of the industrial revolution, and the advertisers of these new products who wanted more stronger, beefy letterforms. They are the first style of type we now know as display type, meant to stand out and be read in short bursts. They are heavy-weight, no-nonsence letters meant to grab attention.
This style of type is obviously characterized by large, flat serifs. Most Slabs have serifs that form right angles with the letters they adorn, although some are bracketed. They have almost no contrast in their strokes, as they were designed to take up as much space as possible.