CSI: THE FONT IN QUESTION

March 7, 2018

Logos & Titles That Last?

A colleague approached me one day and asked if I could design a sports league logo for his son's club.  Most of my production career, I've used logos designed by others.  Immediately, my goal was a design to last over time.  What makes a great logo or trademark?  Indeed, great logos like Ford, Sony, ABC, NBC... stuff that stays around and becomes the wallpaper in our lives.

 

Consider globally, the number of logos generated.  Most bad, some so good they last decades.  This logo lasted longer than I thought it would.  Also, not as eloquent as Ford.

 

It think the reason for longevity is the font.  You can't go too fancy or custom.  Sporting logos can be more stylized.  The fonts are bold and layered.  So this streamline font with it's heavy base line, helped me form the shape and keep the bold face.

 

Soccer clubs, internationally, commonly use a badge logo forms.  The design also needed a Bay Area element and a defining soccer element.  The type bent to the badge shape created a big league look.  The shape of the badge and a very american font provided a long lasting design.

 

Check out the Club website.  Their story is very interesting:

 

http://www.baycitysoccerclub.org/home

 

 

 

So why is this in my blog?

Over ten year later, my old colleague reached out and asked if I remembered the Font I used.  The club intends to update uniforms, etc.

 

I have not seen this stuff in over 10 years... wow, can I remember what the font was?

 

 

One of my specialties, Font Forensics.

 

 

CSI: Finding the Font in Question

 

So when my old colleague connected, i felt Déjà vu.  How many times have we (designers) either forgotten the font used or was given art to expand using the same font.  Almost impossible to find the original font, right?

 

Now I've always been a good font researcher.  I like it actually.  Joking with clients and colleagues, "If someone is killed by font, they'll call me in as the Expert Fontologist ".  Was easy when I first had the task in the 90's where there were tens-of-thousands of fonts.

 

Today, a completely different set, an enormous library of fonts... Millions!

 

Plan A: The best way to never loose a font?  Never throw away your data.  I have this logo tucked away on CD some place and the hard drive pulled from this long dead workstation where I built it.  Did I want to dig through that and my extensive library?   ummmm, not so much.

 

Plan B: Find a font application like a music recognition software.  Yup, there's an app for that:

 

WhatTheFont

 

Typekit - Adobe

 

 

This plan worked well.  I downloaded the app to my phone.  I was impressed by recognition list:

 

 

 

Excellent, I've seen these font names!  Close to the font I used... I remember testing Cabriolet when designing. The application shook other names out of my memory, "was it Streamline, wasn't it?"

 

... so is there a font called streamline?

 

Google image search for Streamline provided a similar font, called MAGNETO!  "Yes! That was the name, I remember!"

 

Comparing the critical letters, in this case upper "B" and lower "a" validated the research.

 

 

 

 

Font matching apps, when experimenting with the online and smart phone versions, they perform a wonderful job collecting the various options.  One still needs to inspect individual letters if not involved with original design.

 

So if a murder is ever caused by a Font?  Call me as your forensic font expert.  I'll be able to resolve whether it is SWISS or HELVETICA as the suspect font!  The new tools make this even easier but still requires a trained eye.

 

 

 

 

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