typeface suggestion: innovation/modernization of agriculture

Amado's picture

Hi all. Here we go again.

I'm looking for a typeface suggestion for logo/corporate-identity for a program that helps institutions in developing countries improve their ability to train/educate their agronomists and agricultural professionals.

And if that aint enough, the customer likes Century Gothic. So I'm looking for geometrically-round (optically-corrected) /o/ and single-story /a/, with an option for an /i/ with a circular dot. True small caps would be a big plus.

Some adjectives: modernizing, innovating, professional education, higher education, agriculture, organic.

I came up dry, on my own. That's why I'm back to the well! Thanks, in advance, for your insights/suggestions.

hrant's picture

Are you looking for display, text, or both?

BTW, what countries? And can the logo be "adaptive", as in change based on what country it's for? Admittedly risky, but equally powerful.


Amado's picture

United States universities, and bureaucrats in the U.S. government, and Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Senegal, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

I don't think we'll be getting into target-specific adaptation of the logo. The customer is all about target-specific adaptation of their intervention strategies with the host-country institutions, but they're nowhere near that savvy about their visual identity.

Karl Stange's picture

It does not meet all of your criteria but have you looked at Font Bureau's Relay?

Your requirement to have a single-storey "a" seems to me very much at odds with professional and higher education environments.

hrant's picture

That's a very wide spectrum of countries so I have to concede that it would be better to standardize. But Karl is right, and I'd add that a monocular "a" seriously reduces readability (assuming you'll use the font for a decent amount of text).

My main question now is: do they want to look like they're a bringing solution from outside (specifically the West) or do they want to appear more sensitive to local cultures? If it's the latter that's one more srtike against something like Century Gothic.

It's always hard to convince a client that their personal visual taste might be detrimental to the objective at hand, but intelligent clients can handle it.


Amado's picture

I'll have leeway on the single-storey /a/, at the end of the day. But this will almost certainly NOT be used for web-text or print-body-text, in any way/shape/form. So, dump the /a/ requirement. And a square-dot on the /i/ can always be replaced with a circle, if it gets used for a logo.

I use Relay personally. I like how it looks back on Metro and art deco without being too obvious. I'm a little concerned about using it for this though: this should look forward.

Century Gothic screams "the West," eh? If so, that's indeed another strike. Agronomists and educators in our Host Countries (i.e., the non-US-countries listed) should see it and say "yes, they help us make our institutions better, I want to use them again." Sensitivity to local culture is, in theory at least, baked into everything this organization does.

Amado's picture



I'll try the /A/T/E/ in small caps to make them the same height as the /n/n/o/v/ ...the /o/v/ will have ambiguity as to whether they're cap or miniscule... the dot on the /i/ will be the only thing outside the "box" of the bodies of the letters. I'll try the /A/T/E/ in a different color because it stands for "Agricultural Training and Education." (Where "innov" stands for "Innovation for...")

Something with enough personality that it stands out.

Bah, just do your best. Obviously, I'm interested in your thoughts on this problem.

hrant's picture

Ah. I had missed the agro angle - definitely something to factor in. And/so yes, quite anti-geometric (even if it involves genetically-modified foods :-). Maybe something with no straight lines (which makes me think of Bloemsma's work, yet again). And/or if the tittle will indeed be standing out, maybe make it the focus of the agro factor; the obvious thing would be making it look like a seed or a sprout, or a droplet.

Take a look at Panoptica too.

BTW what are you/they using as a text font?


Amado's picture

I might try to sell 'em on Avance. The serifs... they move forward.

Text font: TBD. Right now they've stumbled back on Cambria.

hrant's picture

And there's something mildly non-Latin about Avance too, which fits this to a tee.


John Hudson's picture

Take a look at H&FJ's Archer family. Consider setting 'innov' in italics and then 'ATE' in roman smallcaps.

hrant's picture

The Roman is cool, but I'm sorry to say Archer's Italic makes my stomach churn for some reason.


oldnick's picture

If the customer—who is always right, if you want to get paid—likes Century Gothic, try this…


The stark geometric forms remain, but the round terminals make it a little friendlier…

Amado's picture

I looked at H&FJ's whole library. Archer almost made it for me, but I was concerned that the slab serif would have old-timey connotations for some. Whitney really sent me. But ultimately, the subtle beauty of it was going to be lost on the customer. "It just looks like you typed out the word." So, with sadness, I dumped that line of inquiry.

Your Hess Gothic Round is gorgeous, Nick. If they insist on looking like an industrialized, imperialistic Western Power -- but friendlier! -- I'll steer that way.

I've tried an Avance treatment, still in draft form. I really like how the letters have a bit of an unfamiliar look to me (a Westerner thru and thru), but the serifs seem to drive the motion forward. Good, subtle symbolism in a face that's not ostentatious, but not "plain." We'll see how it flies.

Syndicate content Syndicate content