If you're averse to change, then you might not like Netflix's most recent announcement. According to It's Nice That, the streaming service is changing its typeface from the old reliable Gotham to Netflix Sans. It was developed with typeface designers Dalton Maag. The reasoning behind the switch is simple. First, typefaces are critical to the way people interact with an online service such as Netflix.
Fonts are as synonymous with a brand as a logo, and these days every kind of company and organization (and some cities) have a design they call their own. Even America's National Parks have their own distinct lettering, found on wooden signs throughout parks across the country. But it wasn't until 2013 it became apparent that the iconic font isn't an actual typeface at all -- instead, it's simply the product of the chiseling gear found in the National Park sign shop. Now, the design has been digitized for others to use. Designer Jeremy Shellhorn made the discovery when he was working in-residence at the Rocky Mountain National Park in 2013.
It's been six months since Mozilla, the non-profit organization in charge of maintaining Firefox, announced it was putting the future of its brand in users' hands. The plan was to solicit entrants for a new wordmark or logo, before handing them off to in-house professionals to finish off the job. After some pretty out-there submissions -- including one that would have seen a revival of Mozilla's once-famous dinosaur -- the winning design is markedly plain. The logo is a very simple, lower-case slab serif wordmark, with a bold typeface evoking Courier and other popular coding fonts. That's not to say it's not a shrewd piece of design, though.
Fonts are like pants: It's best to try on a few different styles before making a purchase. Like a pair of jeans that look flattering on one person and unbecoming on the next, a typeface that comes across as elegant in a bit of sample text might look overcrowded when used for your company logo. Just because it looks good on the mannequin doesn't mean it'll look good on you. Type foundry Hoefler & Co. wants to make trying on fonts easier, with a new tool it calls Try.typography.com. Think of it like a fitting room for typefaces.
But oddly enough, while IBM itself had developed a strong visual brand though its logo, its architecture, and its products, it never had its own bespoke corporate typeface. In the past, the company's default typeface was Helvetica Neue, "the font of science and the information age, with a precision and objectivity that commands respect," as its previous style guide states. The revered typeface's crisp, neutral look communicated a certain sensibility in the 20th century, but for where IBM wanted to go in the 21st century, it had outlived its usefulness.