Hello to all,
Firstly, a little hello from a new user!
I am trying to look into the origins of corporate typefaces and am a bit stuck as to where to look to find some answers.
I am doing this research out of personal interest but equally as a base for a type course I am giving. I am curious to try and trace the origins of when brands started investing and creating their own typefaces as opposed to buying 'of the shelf' designs.
In recent years, we have seen a rather large number of brands investing in their own typefaces but it seems like quite a contemporary case. So my questions would be:
1) Would anyone know of ressources or books that have covered the topic of corporate typefaces?
2) Does anyone know of the first brands that started to use their own corporate fonts as opposed to commercially available typefaces?
I am trying to avoid publications who would have a 'real' use for typefaces, things like the work of Stanley Morrison for the Times or the nameplate works for other magazines or newspapers and focus more on the branding side, so typefaces made for a brand like the work of Dalton Maag or others.
Hope my question is clear and thanks in advance for any input!
IIRC the first corporate identity type was part of Peter Behrens' work for AEG.
Then... a whole bunch of stuff happened and eventually people started thinking Gubeburghe had a bunch of fonts on the shelf to begin with, and churches just lined up one day and started buying them.;)
I will have a look at the work of Peter Behrens and Goudy.
Nina, you make an interesting point with the Romain du Roi since it even includes a design feature in the l letter!
But to clarify my questions, it was more along the lines of when corporations started to view typeface design as a feature of their brand guidelines. Many companies seem to be creating their own typefaces as part of a wider communication effort and I wondered if this is a modern trend or if it was something companies would have done in the past?
You could obviously consider a foundry a brand, or corporation, but their main product was selling the actual fonts they produced.
David, not too sure I understand what you are saying with the churches lining up?
Also, Made With Fontfont has a nice article about the development of FF Meta for the Bundespost.
First with the News gives a good account.
From 1907 the architect, designer and typographer Peter Behrens went further: He tried to give the company AEG by design a new consistent identity.
Even the people from the Bauhaus (Herbert Bayer, Max Burchartz und Josef Albers) try individual designs with some self-made fonts.
The Helvetica was one of the first typeface, which was exclusively mentioned in many corporate design manuals as a corporate font (that’s just a guess from me, but at hot metal setting times there was not much sortiment, Helvetica fit many designers concept and you could presuppose at the most composing firms).
Then I remember Adrian Frutiger. In 1968, he was commissioned to develop a sign and directional system for the new Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and everyone thought he would want to use his successful Univers font family. Frutiger decided instead to make a new sans serif typeface, later called Frutiger.
In addition, Kurt Weidemann (Corporate A S E) and Erik Spiekermann (Meta) come to my mind.
The subject interested me very much! Do you do a written assignment?
British Rail had a custom font in the 70s, and the British Transport Alphabet was designed in the mid-60s. Weidemann's work for Daimler-Benz had been mentioned. Gerard Unger designed a sans for Allianz and the work by Dalton Maag for Sparkasse, Vodafone, Toyota et al has already been mentioned. GE has fonts designed by Mike Abbink.
Not sure whether all these are what you mean by Corporate typefaces. Rotis was not designed for a company and neither was FF Meta, although the original version was meant for the German Post Office in 1985. They didn't take it.
Now pretty much every major Corporate Design programme comes with an exclusive typeface, more or less original.