Why choosing the right font for your brand is so important
You know a Chanel when you see one. Same with Louis Vuitton. And we're not talking about their designer wares, logos or the interlocking Cs, Ls and Vs. We're talking fonts, and why they represent more than just words.
Like colours, well-crafted typography has the power to evoke certain emotions and capture attention. Each curve is a definitive tool to craft your brand message, so it's no surprise that a simple font change can make or break a brand's identity. What would Jimmy Choo be without University Roman? Will you still recognise Marc Jacobs without Engravers Gothic? Does Dolce & Gabbana have the same draw if it lets go of Futura SH Light?
With the influx of co-working spaces in town, The Co. checked in with Mark De Winne and Ken Yuktasevi of Singapore-based design firm Parable Studio for a new perspective. Intending to breathe new life into a crowded industry, the four-year-old co-working space has grown from one location at High Street to four locations across Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Switching its positioning from being a co-working space to a premium shared workspace, The Co.'s new directive aims for its members to feel rooted in the neighbourhoods they're in — Duxton and High Street — so that work and life are integrated.
Which is where Parable comes in. While Parable is only a year old, the duo has worked with yuppie-friendly names such as Grain Traders, Plentyfull and SPRMRKT. Asking themselves a fairly simple question, "What is the underlying story behind why people look for communities and places to fulfill their dreams in work?", the duo started carving out a narrative based on the stories that were important to The Co. founder Justin Chen and those involved in the ecosystem. Launching this May, expect to see their new logos, signages, event boards and directories in their offices. We chat with Parable to find out more.
How did you get into branding?
Ken Yuktasevi (KY): I'm a filmmaker who has been working in architecture and interiors for the past 10 years. I'm just very enthralled with the way places are built and with the power that design has to impact the way people live. Branding and space is a line that I feel needs to be blurred in order for a holistic solution to be realized.
Mark De Winne (MDW): Typography has always been a passion, having started typography-led branding and design studio, Relay Room, in 2011, which helped to brand internet startup sensation Luxola (now Sephora Singapore, acquired by LVMH) and Kiss92, amongst other things. After coming back from The Hague, I worked with Ken at Ong & Ong Experience Design Studio to brand Grain Traders, Plentyfull and a brand refresh for SaladStop!
How did you set up Parable?
We connected over our shared stories of finding our way through life through being inspired by design and authentic relationships. We feel it's a passionate call on our lives to take our imperfect and broken stories and tell better stories through design.
Just how important is a font in conveying a message?
We like to think that every typeface has a personality, much like people. The main typeface for The Co. is called Stratos. On the surface, it looks very much like a regular, geometric sans serif, but for one interesting feature, the capital letters are condensed, whereas the lowercase are more akin to the shapes found in classic geometric sans serifs (like Futura for example).
This contradiction presents distinct typographic flavour depending on the use, and we like to think that it gives The Co. that much bang for their buck, but beyond that, it gives The Co a unique typographic voice. The round, geometric lowercase is friendly, distinctive without drawing too much attention, and the condensed capitals are particularly useful for making quick signage!
What is the new typeface for The Co., and why this font?
Stratos is a geometric grotesque that eschews conventional notions of typographic relationships —the capitals are condensed, but while the minuscules are wider. Used separately, the two designs exude individual personalities: The caps fill a page with the impact of a poster; the lowercase conveys an austere modernity. When employed together, the look is unexpected but surprisingly functional, thanks to carefully balanced spacing and weight. The typeface is a refreshing compliment to The Co., in marriage of personality and utility.
What inspired you to come up with The Co.'s new brand graphics?
Taking inspiration from flight plans and aviation maps, the ascending lines in The Co.'s graphics represent the progression of a person's journey, guided by The Co. as a partner and friend in their adventures. These depict how The Co. supports its members and the community around the neighbourhood.
Placement of logos are important too. Why choose these specific ones?
The Co.'s logo should be positioned at the bottom-left, with the brand's monogram either on the top-right, or towards the top-right on the irregular ascending line graphic. This emphasises one's entrepreneurial journey from a starting point to a higher place in work and in life, which they will hopefully reach in their time with The Co.
If typefaces have a voice, what does The Co's sound like?
It's a thoughtful, assured, and intelligent voice with a bold spirit of adventure and seeing the world.
Interested in co-working at The Co.?
The Co. is located at 99 Duxton Road, Singapore. To find out more about this premium workspace, click here.