Pairing Type with Logos

kmann1021's picture

So first off… hello to everyone. I am new to the typophile site. I have looked through it many times before and am in awe of the depth of knowledge that this site brings to surface. I am a design student here in Florida bumbling around the world of type and look forward to learning and sharing here. I have a ton to learn but I am a hard worker and ready for some knowledge in hopes that one day when the design cosmos aligns and can share my experience strength and hope with another with the same desire for knowledge.

So I am currently learning the nuances of type (I hope :>) and have a challenge. The current project is branding a mobile food service.
I have chosen a Buddhist inspired cuisine and come up with a name: "Immortal Monk". Several logos followed. In the interest of time and progression to type, I have chosen an image to accompany the name (attached).

Here's what I know: typefaces found for free are often poorly designed. The chosen typeface should complement, but not compete, with the logo symbol. Decorative typefaces are not for body copy, but can be effective in certain situations.

Goal: to find a typeface that works with the logo and has a friendly, spiritual, Bhuddist feel. I have experimented with many but feel I have been poking around in the dark.

Thanks for whatever knowledge you can drop.

Surf Report: There haven't been any waves in while...

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masgrimes's picture

Hey there! I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring with this one and address a couple of the points you made above.

Free fonts aren't always poorly made. Many times, fonts that appear free to an end user like you have been purchased and are provided under licences somewhere down the line. For example: none of the system fonts on your computer are free, they have just been purchased for you and licensed for use with your system.

That being said, there really is a lot of garbage out there, but in the end (especially with logo work, or anything where you can kern/edit the actual letterforms before exporting a flat file) it's what you do with it. There are plenty of intricate fonts that might look horrible because of the way the font was set up, but might work for your unique situation if you expand them to their outlines and focus on cleaning them up and tweaking them to fit your needs.

I'm not promoting the frankensteining of perfectly good fonts as a regular habit, I'm merely saying that there are situations where a characteristic that makes a font "bad" can be overlooked because you have the power to change it.

Keep in mind, when it comes to logos and business marks, legibility is really important. Whatever type you end up using should be easily scaled down to fit on a business card without losing it's readability. It's also important to consider the unique place where your design is going to live when selecting a font. Will it be printed on paper? Painted on a wall? Carved into wood? Each of those materials would require it's own set of considerations when you end up picking a typeface.

One more note: your first inclination when you start getting into logo design (or anything where you get to pick fonts) is to pick a font that fits a certain "style". Right now you're asking for a font that has a "Buddhist" feel to it, which means that you are boiling down your client's (imaginary, or real) brand to be something that can easily be conveyed by "Buddhist" styles. It's like when you see a Lebanese restaurant using papyrus because they've been stereotyped by their geography and not given their due, unique, consideration as a business.

Best of luck!

kmann1021's picture

Hi masgrimes -

Thank you so much for the tips. Sooo much appreciated and soo much respect for your imparted wisdom. As I am a graphic design student who is still learning about using type with respect, you shared some great advice. If at some juncture you have a moment, could you share a scenario on how you might approach choosing a typeface for a client? For example, do you have a handful of quality typefaces that you go to first? Or do you decide on maybe a san serif for a project and then look for specific letters that have the feel you are looking for? I struggle with approaching a type project and often find myself taking the safe road to a basic slab or sans or serif that I see as quality, but I often want for more. I really want to have a good reason for choosing a specific face and not settle for it is readable and it works. I want to have the freedom to choose, but the knowledge to choose tastefully and creatively. I have thumbed through and read some material on the topic, but I haven't quite been able to grasp and be comfortable with making meaningful type choices. Maybe there are some resources you might recommend? However this finds you, and I hope it does, thank you for taking a moment to share some of the wisdom you did. It means a lot to me that you reached out... and should this prose sounds a bit concocted or strange, I do have a tendency to write a bit differently than I type(and I'm reading A Clockwork Orange for a book jacket design project for my design class this semester... at least I'm not using THEIR slang!).



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