I am obsessed with letterforms — the distinctive characteristics of a letter within a typeface (it can also refer to calligraphy but that is not my rabbit hole). When I cannot fall asleep I even draw serif letters in my mind instead of counting sheep. I dream of curves, nooks, and crannies, the details that make letters unique — typography is my jam.
What is typography?
Typography is the art of using letters, while letterforms are the specific shapes and styles of the letters themselves. And, typefaces are the artistic design of the lettering styles that share a common design, such as Helvetica or Comic Sans (oh my), or Times Roman, while fonts are the variations of a typeface such as bold, regular, italic, etc. Each variation of a typeface is a font.
The anatomy of a letterform is what makes creating letters for wordmarks and logos so fun! And, it also makes choosing the right font for an annual report, ad, brochure, or even a presentation so tedious but worthwhile. Arranging letters to create a visual message is where design gets its power — the right letters express attitude and emotion.
How letterforms impact logos
When it comes to logos, letterforms refer to the specific design and shape of the letters used in the logo. Letterforms can greatly impact the overall look and feel of the logo, as well as the message it conveys. They can help to convey the brand’s personality and values. For example, a modern and minimalist brand might use sans-serif letterforms to convey a sleek and simple aesthetic, while a luxury brand might use serif or script letterforms to convey elegance and sophistication.
Letterforms can also be customized to create a unique and memorable logo which will help effectively communicate the brand’s message and personality.
Small wonder that type on food packages is often hand-lettered because standard typefaces don’t seem to be able to express this vast range of tastes and promises. These days, hand lettering sometimes means using software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, that combine design and artwork at a level unimaginable only a few years ago. Anything a graphic designer can think of can be produced in amazing quality.
— Erik Spiekermann, Stealing Sheep, 4th edition
How will your design be perceived? It depends on your typography.
Much like color, the typeface used in a design has a significant impact on the way a user perceives that design. I like to refer to what I do — making custom letters for logo designs — as crafted typography.
7 reasons why typography is important
Typography plays a vital role in producing the first impression, creating a general atmosphere, and conveying a message. It can:
establish a strong visual hierarchy
guide and inform your users
enhance the website’s personality
build brand recognition
carry your brand forward
Boost your brand identity with a unique typeface
When it comes to bringing a unique letterform to life, there are type designers, or people like me who take existing letterforms and change them to make unique wordmarks or logos so that brands can be truly connective and original.
# Letterform, custom logo design, examples
Custom event logos are essential to planning and marketing.
Example of client pushback on logo design
These two logos were failures by the client’s standards — but I loved them and garnered some national design awards.
Transform the use of your letterforms and typography to make your brand stand out
When it’s time for your brand to be truly unique (or if you can’t sleep at night), look to your letters. If you need help employing the power of letterforms, revamping your logo, or getting updated (or your first) brand guidelines, Let’s talk.