web fonts/print fonts should they stay the same?

jomo15's picture

I'm working on a project for a client starting from scratch on his whole LOOK and feel. We've revamped the logo to be more elegant. I've changed the colors for a more elegant feel. i've spent over 70 hours on the press kit, the collateral, credit card designs, 3-d materials and so on... finding the perfect fonts. etc. its pretty far along.

I get an email this morning from the web developer who is working on the website, wondering if we should use the same fonts (his fonts) for cohesiveness throughout all the projects. I'm kind of perturbed. As the brand manager of this client i just feel a bit miffed right now that everything should change to a font that i don't want to use. but i'm not sure i'm correct.

My arguement is print is not web. the avenues are different. He is using Gotham. for i guess the headers and some copy areas. The website is a retail site. it will forever be changing. My recomendation is to keep all things cohesive thru photography/color/style I've got Rotis family as my font in the collateral. And as the new tag line. and i was going to have it on the identity package.

Do i treat the identity package the exact same as the collateral? and then the exact same as the website? this person seems to think i should.

Should we be swapping things out to make it all the same? Brand identity stems from the logo and then the fonts chosen for the elements that go into the identity. but does that always include the collateral? should it include the website?

i know the problem lies in that we didn't coordinate at the outset. but honestly i hadn't a clue there was another person working on the project. I usually would be the one to design the LOOK of the website and then pass that along. and issues of consistency were never at issue.

I need some guidance here. what do you all do? or how i might address this? I don't have a problem revamping the letterhead and business cards to match, but i do have a problem with making the collateral (all 30+ pieces) change. The look is established. The client loves it. Now with this email it could all change? I need help is my arguement as to what i should do. or why it doesn't have to change. (or if you think it should).

thanks so much,

aluminum's picture

An identity mark should remain consistent, but does the overall marketing materials in general need to be using the same exact style guide? Probably not. I agree, web isn't print and often the online branding and offline branding can diverge and still clearly communicate the overall corporate brand just fine.

Ch's picture

headlines, colors, font families - all these could be "perceptually" the same if not exactly.

that perceptual relationship is really the main job relating web to print, in my experience.

body copy, blurbs, captions, etc. may need their own criteria, but certainly informed by the overall identity.

pattyfab's picture

Setting aside my deep dislike for Rotis...

Have you brought this up at all with the client? There is a strong argument for using a serif font for any body copy in the collateral. While Gotham and Rotis are not exactly a match made in heaven, you could put selected elements if the identity package and perhaps the collateral into Gotham to tie it in with the look of the web site. Perhaps the web developer could bring Rotis into his design a little too.

More people will probably see the site than the collateral, so I think you don't want your materials to look too different, as said by both commenters above.

It seems to me the client should have managed this better. It's pretty crazy, if you're the brand manager, that the web developer got as far along as he did without consulting you on his font choices.

writingdesigning's picture

"As the brand manager of this client i just feel a bit miffed right now that everything should change to a font that i don’t want to use. but i’m not sure i’m correct..."

I think you certainly are. The whole point of a brand look and feel is to ensure that there is consistency across different delivery channels. The brand typeface is probably the most important component of a brand identity program. Gotham and Rotis are so different that it would certainly result in a disconnect between the website and everything else.

It is standard practice in large identity program to have an alternate web-core font for on-screen applications: from corporate corespondence and powerpoints to very often, html text in websites. In other words for applications that may be viewed in computers that may not have the primary brand typeface installed. Here however, that obviously does not apply. If Gotham is being used, it can't be a html site.

'I need some guidance here. what do you all do? or how i might address this?''
Well, it would help a lot if you have created some kind of brand documentation. Typically when brands are designed, some form of guidelines are created, the idea of which is to ensure that everyone else who handles different components of the brand, adhere to the outlines of the program. This would normally have a section on typefaces that articulates what typeface to use, how and some form rationale for the choices. It would also have a set of DO NOT examples. If you don't have one yet, you could quickly put one together and use that as a basis for arguing your case. There are a lot of useful resources on guidelines here.

Nick Shinn's picture

It's possible to create brands that are typeface-independent, and in fact some font businesses do that, e.g. FontShop.

When I worked for Raymond Lee and the National Ballet was our client, Ray would use just about any classic-style serif type--but he had a way of keeping the look consistent. That's easier to do in a small shop with one creative director with a lot of style, harder when relying on a manual.

jomo15's picture

Hi all... thanks so much for the input. i haven't gotten that far to create the documentation for outside vendor uses.. we are still in the designing phases.

I have calmed down :) and i called my account service guy and gave him my input. and also sent him a page of heavy copy with the rotis as is. and with the gotham (which they are just soo different)... I'm not sure i should get into it directly with the developer company.

I work with a small firm who the client employs. i don't work directly with the client. but i did confirm that theclient LOVES our new direction. and yes its approved. So i mentioned this little request will cost alot to redo. And that brand identity should drive the other arms of our projects. not the other way around.

patty why don't you like rotis? i'm using sans.. i like it but i wouldn't call my self an expert on typography. i just pick what i like based on feeling. the gotham font seems too playful and way too round... part of the problem with the revamp was that the old colors and logo were too playful, hence low-end. and the new goal is to make it more elegant and upscale.

pattyfab's picture

Jojo - it's just a matter of taste for me. I don't like its proportions. But I recognize that it is a very useful and versatile font.

If you're using the sans, I especially agree it's not a good match with Gotham.

More about Rotis and why it gets a mixed reception from designers can be found in this thread:


and this conversation


jomo15's picture

my font really isn't a font..lol... i'm so un-informed. i need to keep up on this site more often. thanks for the links. and thanks writingdesigning for that link on indentityworks that is awesome. if this client becomes big enough to warrant such management. thanks nick i just checked out a few of your cool fonts.

writingdesigning's picture

"if this client becomes big enough to warrant such management''

Even for quite small, often pro bono clients we work with, we have found that creating some sort of guidelines, even if it's just a simple 2-3 page PDF, makes a huge difference in how everything is carried forward.

Dan Gayle's picture

In this day and age your web site IS your identity. Period. Look at Apple's worldwide marketing scheme. Everything.

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