Business / Companies

When smooth fonts give edge to corporate logos

By GAO YUAN (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-09 08:43

But tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft are all sold on sans typefaces. Apple and Microsoft even run their own foundries to design customized typefaces, many of which are sans. Logos of Chinese firms such as Xiaomi, ZTE, Baidu and many startups are in sans.

Every tech company claims it is unique, its corporate culture is distinct. Sans fonts in their logos seem to support such tall claims. For, serif fonts have come to be seen as traditional and old-fashioned, and tech companies would like people to perceive them as nonconformist.

If a mere font could transform a company's image, why didn't other companies switch over to sans? Well, Gap tried and failed epically in 2010.

Unlike the new-economy IT industry, old-economy industries lay stress on operating experience. A logo that embodies history and trustworthiness would suit them better. In this regard, a serif nails sans, it seems.

Good examples are Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, HSBC and Bank of China. Their logos are classy in beautifully designed serif fonts that suggest they represent time-honored establishments. Of course, there are exceptions such as Citibank. Its red-arched Citi logo in sans, introduced in 1998, remains iconic.

The sans-versus-serif fight will continue to mark typography. There will be no clear winner. Revolutionary or conservative, it is for a company to decide its font strategy with regard to targeted customers. Be smart when choosing your company logo's typeface.

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