Custom type solutions for the long haul

While the details may vary, the goal remains the same: to craft a tailored solution to solve a specific design problem.

Tate Modern

In 1999, Wolff Olins asked Miles Newlyn to help rebrand Britain’s Tate Gallery. The commission included the creation of a custom typeface that could perform well in a wide range of settings—from the branding of one of the world’s most prominent art institutions down to the price of a cup of coffee listed in its cafeteria. Newlyn created a modern design that was unique yet sufficiently natural so as not to detract from the visually-arresting art adorning the institution’s walls.

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Team Detroit, Ford Motor Company’s design agency, selected Miller Banner for Lincoln’s brand typeface. Then a part of the Font Bureau library, Miller Banner is the largest optical size of Miller, Matthew Carter’s interpretation of the Scotch Roman. Tracking usage and recurring or additional license fees were impractical for a global company, so Ford needed a simple solution. An enterprise license was the answer.

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The SYFY channel relaunched wearing a fresh logo and identity developed by Loyalkaspar in 2017. This new identity marked a shift from an exclusive focus on SYFY’s original shows to a broader, more inclusive look at the science fiction genre. A crucial element of this rebranding was the introduction of two custom typefaces: the narrow headline face SYFY Hero and SYFY Sidekick for secondary headlines and short paragraphs.

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Coffee Company

Born of its founders’ love for artisanal coffee, the Coffeecompany opened its first Amsterdam location in 1996. Jasper Uhlenbusch, brand director and green-coffee buyer at Coffeecompany, approached Amsterdam Signpainters to paint “Sinds 1996” (translation: Since 1996) on their affiliates’ shop windows by hand to celebrate the company’s twentieth anniversary. Retype’s Ramiro Espinoza was there to help.

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Cyrus Highsmith’s Antenna had the combination of reliability and dynamism that Ford, the US-based multinational automaker, was looking for in a brand typeface. To enable the company to communicate with a global audience, Antenna’s character set needed to be expanded to include the Cyrillic and Greek alphabets, as well as all necessary accents for composing Vietnamese.

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Het Parool

In 2016, Amsterdam-based daily newspaper Het Parool launched a new design. The printed paper and accompanying website were overhauled to mark the organization’s seventy-fifth anniversary. One of the most striking changes was the new logo and masthead, expertly lettered by Spanish type and graphic designer Laura Meseguer of Type-Ø-Tones. The final mark adorns not only the newspaper and website but also all expressions of Het Parool’s identity.

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VRT News

When the Belgian Dutch-language public broadcaster VRT initiated its company-wide rebranding effort in early 2017, the typography became a crucial unifying element in its visual identity. In its search for a new corporate typeface, branding agency Today discovered the perfect option: Forma DJR. At Today’s request, designer David Ross added a bolder Black weight for highlighting headlines and news flashes.

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Washington Post

The story of Postoni illustrates how commissioning a custom typeface can become a long-lasting relationship between the client and the typeface. What started out as a modest four-style family has grown into a twenty-four-style custom headline family.

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Type and typography by Roger Black

Roger Black’s eye for typography and grounding in type history has lead companies the world over to seek out his expertise. A common thread is that Black has always found a solution that benefited the client, raising their profile and often saving them money by advising them on licensing. This is a portrait of an expert deeply enamored of everything typographic.

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