Unusual Promotional Use of a Font

John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,008
edited October 7 in Type Business
While reading a news story, I saw a banner ad which invited me to download a free font.
The font was called the "Champions" font, and it was being made available to celebrate the role of Canada's news media... as "Champions of the Truth".
I do understand that Canada's newspapers are in economic difficulty these days, as their business model is collapsing around them, and I do happen to personally agree that the mainstream news media in Western industrialized nations provides a largely accurate picture of events, and certainly compares favorably with most of the visible alternatives.
But I will defintely say that, despite the use of printing type in the making of newspapers (which perhaps is what inspired this), I still found the promotion to be so unusual as to be even bizarre.
EDIT: Here is an image of the typeface in question, taken from a Windows font preview.
In a PDF containing a FAQ for the font, they describe the typeface as "geo-humanist", which appears to me to be correct. However, while the font is free, no information is included with it about licensing terms. However, web font versions of the font are included in the .zip file package. (EDIT: In looking at the FAQ on the nationalnewspaperweek.ca web site, however, I see that it is free for personal use; to use it commercially, i.e. on a web page that has a banner ad on it, I would need to communicate with them to find licensing terms at an E-mail address provided. Darn! I won't be able to use it to lend credibility to a page filled with lies and propaganda! :)  (Now there's something the licensing terms of that font should explicitly exclude, but since truth is so subjective, it might be hard to come up with legally-binding language...))
I see that they're using PostScript outlines. Since they're part of the OpenType standard, I suppose Adobe's discontinuing support for Type 1 fonts isn't going to affect OpenType fonts that use that type of outline as opposed to TrueType outlines. No doubt, if instead I should panic, some expert here will let me know. :)
EDIT: I have found a news report concerning this font, so at least I don't need to worry that the ad was a phony ad, intending to encourage me to install a font on my computer that would contain malware.
So you can read some of the background behind this.
EDIT: A web search for "Champions font" turned up a different font on some free font sites. However, checking MyFonts and Identifont shows no major commercial typeface of that name; there is a typeface called Champion, but that's a bold script display font by Günter Gerhard Lange from Berthold in 1957. The Champions typeface fonts for which I encountered was designed by Jason Smith and Emanuela Conidi, and is also a sans-serif, but while it's humanist, it isn't geometric.
Searching on my part shows that Emanuela Conidi is credited for four typefaces, and Jason Smith is credited for thirty-nine, and fonts they created at FontSmith are included, and that this other typeface named Champions is not among them.
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Comments

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,237
    That is bizarre. Maybe they commissioned a custom font and figured they could get some eyes on it by releasing it like an IBM Plex situation? This probably would have been quite effective back in the days when free fonts were more of a draw. Possibly having readers download and install a font helps create an emotion connection with the paper. When they see the font in their fonts list, it will remind them to check the news? Fascinating!
  • Custom type projects often result in a lot of similar names, often (in my experience, at least) because the clients are more concerned about brand-relevant keywords and less bothered by IP issues that would be an issue for retail fonts. (Back at Monotype, I once worked on a Clear Sans for Intel, not knowing that Positype was finishing up a commercial release called Clear Sans, or that Intel would later commission Intel Clear from Dalton Maag.)

    I forgot about the old Berthold Champion, since I always associated the name with the Hoefler family called Champion that eventually evolved into Knockout.

    But according to that article you linked to, this new Champions font was done by Canada Type. The Jason Smith/Emanuela Conidi family was a custom project by Fontsmith for the UEFA Champions League: https://www.fontsmith.com/case-studies/uefa-champions-league

    Font naming is especially tricky if you try to work with common English words.
  • (Also, the Type 1 retirement is all about the outdated font file format, not the outlines in them. CFF-based OpenType fonts are perfectly safe.)
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,493
    I suppose Adobe's discontinuing support for Type 1 fonts isn't going to affect OpenType fonts that use that type of outline as opposed to TrueType outlines. No doubt, if instead I should panic, some expert here will let me know. 
    No need to panic.  Adobe is dropping the Type 1 font format, not the PostScript outline format, as embodied in OpenType fonts.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,008
    edited October 7
    Champions was designed by Patrick Griffin at Canada Type
    Thank you; I wasn't able to find that out through my limited perusal of the sites involved.
    The Jason Smith/Emanuela Conidi family was a custom project by Fontsmith for the UEFA Champions League:
    Ah! I didn't know that, and admittedly I didn't try too hard to investigate this. But it's very interesting that it, too, is a free font specifically because it is intended for promotional use. It seems like quite a coincidence.
    EDIT: Following your link, I see it may be quite different, in the sense that it may have only been made available online so that authorized partners of the soccer league in question could use it in accordance with their licensing and an official style guide and so on - rather than a freebie for anyone to use for personal use, the way this new one is.
  • Champions by Canada Type is a modification of two upright weights from their Davis Sans family (2016).
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,925
    edited October 10
    Ima lovin’ the fontspeak promo:

    Champions is a geo-humanist font that incorporates both humanistic traits — which mimic hand motions reflecting the craft and artistry that goes into producing credible news each day — and highly geometric shapes — which represent the structure and rigour of fact-checking, editing, and producing high-quality credible content newspapers are known for.”
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,882
    Ima lovin’ the fontspeak promo:

    Champions is a geo-humanist font that incorporates both humanistic traits — which mimic hand motions reflecting the craft and artistry that goes into producing credible news each day — and highly geometric shapes — which represent the structure and rigour of fact-checking, editing, and producing high-quality credible content newspapers are known for.”
    “Humanist but geometric” is the new “classic yet modern.”
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,367
    It’s not a contradiction in terms at all.

    We would all agree Futura is geometric, but… the widths of the caps follow the classic Trajan/oldstyle proportions, not more modern/even proportions.
  • I think humanist but geometric is a great genre that few have really succeeded at. Indeed, Futura has some humanist traits. I made an attempt with Ricardo that I'll perhaps revisit one day. My personal favorite is Geograph by Klim.

    Of course, one can argue over what 'humanist' or 'geometric' really means, but those discussions are seldom interesting if you ask me. In this context, I take the blend to mean: geometry combined with more open counters and perhaps a splash of calligraphy (such as that diagonal cut in Geograph's G or Ricardo's EGLTZ).

    I see I'm getting off track, sorry!
  • humanist but geometric
    *cough*Quinoa*cough*
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,008
    edited October 12
    humanist but geometric
    *cough*Quinoa*cough*

    Yes, your Quinoa from Catharsis Fonts definitely qualifies. And it combines those two characteristics in so unobrusive a manner that someone looking at a sample of that typeface might not even notice, at first, that it is in this category.
    Looking at the typeface Champions, one is immediately struck by the resemblance to Futura; recognizing that it is also a humanist typeface takes a more careful look. In the case of Quinoa, it seems to me to be the other way around; it's recognizable as a humanist typeface immediately, but one has to take a careful look at the shapes of which it is composed to see that it is also geometric.
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