Usage of Ligatures in Corporate Font and Business Letters?

Anke Gaksch's picture

hey members and professionals,

i have a general question regarding ligatures. i know ligatures from books, usually used when it's long text. for ME ligatures have an old-style look and feel. nice, but i wouldn't use it in business letters etc.

we purchased the font kievit to use as corporate font.
now my client wanted to know how to use the ligature. i proposed not to use the ligatures, because of what i've already written.
my clients opinion is that it gives a sophisticated feeling.
we both asked ourself, is it just a matter of personal and subjective feeling? and why not use it everywhere?

sorry i am still a design student...

WHEN DO YOU USE ligautres? would you use them for a company which does marketing, design and communications?

opinions greatly appreciated :-)


minardi's picture

I agree with your first impulse. I'm not experienced with FF Kievit, but if the ligatures are too noticable, the addition of them could come off looking strange in places like faxes and letters.

In general, I would say inclusion depends on the face and instance. For example, Kennerly "fi" ligature would be fine -- maybe even preferable to none, but "st" (overhand swoop connection) would be a bit strange.

Hrm... if your client needs help with using specialized characters, maybe they should steer clear anyway.

Eric_West's picture

I'll tend to agree, but in the end, it's the client who decides. Hopefully you are a persuasive person.

ben millen's picture

I'd generally agree with the two above. While "fi" "ff" etc might be subtle enough to not be noticable, something pronounced and unexpected might be completely distracting. One might spend time pondering the ligature and miss the point of the text completely..

or maybe that's just me. hm

Fisheye's picture

Considering that the standard f ligatures are meant to improve legibility, I see no problem with using them. In most good fonts, the reader will not even notice a standard ligature, which are meant to be quiet and unassuming. To me, not using the fi usually adds unnecessary weight and offsets the color balance of the page.

Of course, I would stay away from the discretionary (ct, st, etc.) ligatures in almost every business setting.

Fisheye's picture

but in the end, it’s the client who decides.

That all depends on how much they're paying you! I find few things more pleasurable than firing a cheap client who doesn't trust my judgement. ;-)

Eric_West's picture

Hmmm... you may have a point, if you don't need money i guess.

dan_reynolds's picture

…a cheap client…

A cheap client doens't really help much if you need money…

Thomas Phinney's picture

With almost any font, the standard f-ligatures should always be used, if present and usable automatically in the software the client is using. If the f-ligatures are ungainly and stand out, that design is arguably defective and shouldn't have been chosen in the first place.

Archaic ligatures such as ct and st are a different matter, of course, and have no place in typical business usage.

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