Custom Typefaces / Pros & Cons
How would you convince your client to invest in a custom corporate typeface? For you as a graphic designer, such a custom corporate typeface would be highly attractive to boost your design. For me as a type designer, these are the commissions I am looking for. But what are the positive sides for a company? How do you convince your client that this investment will pay off?
When I have to face a discussion, I love to be prepared. This way, it is easier for me to stand my ground and to be persuasive. So here are all the advantages and disadvantages of a custom corporate typeface I can think off. Feel free to look at them and decide: Do you think a corporate typeface is a sensible investment?
The biggest advantage of a custom corporate typeface is its uniqueness. No other company will ever be able to utilise this typeface. That way, the typeface allows for the company to stand out visually. A big plus for creating visual recognition. Moreover, its uniqueness eliminates the risk that the typeface will wear out or that people will become fed up with it.1 Also, no negative associations could come to mind to interfere with your branding.
Licensing costs and rights of use.
Buying and using retail fonts always requires the purchase of licenses, which of course costs money. With a corporate typeface, on the other hand, all these license issues and costs are eliminated. The company owns all its rights, which means that the company can use the typeface where it is needed at no additional cost.
Language and character range
The company can independently set the range of letters and symbols that should be included in the typeface and which should not. Unnecessary characters are therefore omitted by the type designer, which comes with the advantage of reducing the file size of the web font. Equally, if the company operates globally, every alphabet can be covered: the font could be equipped with Cyrillic, Greek, Arabic, Asian and Latin characters, all of which have been designed in the same style.
Additionally, the technical requirements can be adapted perfectly to the company. Tabular numbers as default? Or do you prefer the old-style figures? The conversion of the company name into the logo as a ligature? The possibilities are almost unlimited.
How do these advantages sound to you? As you might assume, I am greatly enthusiastic about all the possibilities that corporate typefaces pose to a company. But to be fair, I want to outline reasons as to why companies might decide against buying a corporate typeface.
Reasons against a Corporate Typeface
The two negative aspects of Corporate Typefaces may be the factors time and money. A corporate typeface is time-consuming in research, in design and in production. This does not make a corporate typeface cheap, but depending on the size of the company it can pay off after only a few years.
Theoretically, it is even possible that commissioned third parties like design agencies have to pay license fees for the use of the corporate typeface. This would enable the company to recover the costs for the corporate typeface over the years. However, I personally don't find this option beneficial; the third parties will find a way to regain the costs another way.
Maybe this list will come in handy for you if you want to convince one of your clients in the future. Good luck and if they agree on buying a custom corporate typeface, you may think of me and this article.