FMP: Typography Research

For this blog I want to examine the various typefaces that could fit with the Range Rover brand for my FMP. At the end of this post, I will have a selection of typefaces that I will trial when I test my designs to see what works and what doesn’t. Typeface selection hasn’t traditionally been my strongest aspect over the duration of the course, so I want to spend some time making sure things go well.

Typeface properties I am looking for are:

  • Timelessness: The Range Rover is a vehicle that is viewed as a timeless piece if the automotive landscape, so the typeface should match this.
  • Elegance: It must be able to promote the luxurious, elegant nature of the Range Rover to reflect its new market position.
  • Character: The Range Rover identity will work better with something distinctive, and  my research so far has shown a ‘cold, clinical’ typeface will not work. Neither will a typeface that is too decorative though, as it takes away from the functional aspect of the Range Rover.
  • Legibility: There should be no difficulty for audience members in reading and understanding what the text states.

To start my research I decided to start with the typeface Land Rover currently use for their promotional materials, as from there I can conduct a more thorough examination of its suitability.

I used the MyFonts website to identify the Land Rover typeface by using their WhatTheFont! feature, and by following the steps in uploading an image for identification it came up with a list of options, of which the best by far was a typeface called Baksheesh. If it’s not the typeface used then it’s incredibly similar to it.

The Baksheesh typeface comes in numerous weights making it suitable for varied uses, and really appeals to me as a display typeface.

Out of the four assessment points I mentioned in the introduction, I think the character and legibility are suitable, but I am not overly convinced on the timelessness and elegance of the typeface, and feel it could go out of fashion relatively soon, but more importantly, doesn’t have the elegance I am looking for. This typeface is perfect for vehicles with the ‘Land Rover’ characters placed on the bonnet, but not those with ‘Range Rover’

The other issue was the cost of acquiring this typeface, which was out of my budget range, so I will move onto other alternatives.

One typeface that has similar qualities, although is arguably not as refined is Eurostile. This is not a typeface I have not been impressed with in the past, but has attracted my interest because the Bold weight has strong similarities to the Range Rover characters present on the bonnet and tailgate on the vehicle.

Again, as with the Baksheesh typeface, it has character and good legibility, but I am not sure this is the right direction to go in, it doesn’t seem to have an elegance to it because of the very strong angular forms. Mind you, as it is a system typeface I have installed, there is no harm in trying it out and seeing the results on some experimental designs.

To satisfy a curiosity of mine I expressed when I was analysing the set of Aston Martin posters I was given on a recent visit to Prodrive’s Heritage Centre, I thought I would look into the typeface used for them. I used the WhatTheFont! feature again, as was really surprised to see it was Optima, a system typeface I have installed, so it is accessible.

As for the assessment points I have devised, I think it succeeds in legibility and elegance, I am undecided on timelessness, but the main issue here is the character is not one I think suits the Range Rover brand as the thin regular weight combined with the varying stroke thickness gives it a delicate feel, which is well suited to Aston Martin, but not a Range Rover, which should have visual strength to it. There is also the issue of brand identity, as it would lead to similarities being drawn, which is not a good thing when individuality is required. So I shall move on.

The next typeface I assessed was a particular favourite of mine, Helvetica Neue. This is a typeface I felt could suit the Range Rover brand very well, as it has a varied range of weights, and is familiar. If I develop an app, then this typeface will fit in with that of an iPhone app, so this is a strong point.

Regarding the assessment points, I think it meets all the criteria, although I am not quite convinced on character, as some people do think Helvetica can be a little ‘cold’ and therefore very boring. However, I definitely think I will take this typeface forward to experiment with it for my designs.

I then went onto the Creative Bloq website, somewhere I always go for inspiration, as there is always so much good stuff promoted there, and I searched for typography, and came across an article titled ‘Download the 80 best free fonts’ which I thought looked promising, and it was, helping me to access typefaces I had not seen before. This was great, as I knew the typefaces would be accessible to me, being free, and would allow a fresh identity to be built.

The first typeface that stood out to me was Nexa: Light and Bold, as this appears to meet all the criteria I am looking for and should be good for display and copy text. The two weights allow for some flexibility.

I am very impressed with this typeface, and it will go forward to my shortlist.

The next typeface that caught my eye was Adamas Regular. This is something I am unsure of the suitability of for this project, as it is not timeless or elegant and will work best being displayed at a very large size. So why is it featured here then?

Well the reason it is here on this blog post is that I am a big fan of the structural approach it takes and ideas started popping into my head about how it could be used to highlight the structure of something, say a design of the Range Rover or something. It’s a long shot, but I’d like to experiment with it anyway and see what results I get. If it doesn’t work here, I’m sure it will for another project down the road.

The next typeface to attract my attention was Jura. So far on my research, I have not come across any serif typefaces that I thought were even remotely suitable, hence why none are mentioned here, but when I saw Jura, it appealed to me and I felt it could be suitable for the Range Rover brand.

According to the Creative Bloq page, Jura has a high legibility, even at a small point size, which would suit it to body copy. From there, I feel it is a timeless and elegant typeface that does have a character to it. On that basis, I will be interested in experimenting with it.

The final typeface I am looking into here is Fabrica. I was interested in the aim of the typeface, which was to be the most legible typeface for mobile screens, something that caught my eye, especially for the app design I am planning.

I was also impressed with the timeless, elegant nature of this typeface, and I would say it has more character than a typeface such as Helvetica Neue.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.28.52

Therefore I think it is a typeface well worth looking into and experimenting with.

Conclusion: The typefaces below are the ones I will be considering for my design proposals. It is possible however, that I will add to the list as I go on, and I’ll update this blog post if that’s the case.

  • Eurostile.
  • Helvetica Neue.
  • Nexa Light/Bold.
  • Adamas Regular.
  • Jura.
  • Fabrica.