How to explain to my boss why our company needs its own typeface?

There is a number of significant arguments in favour of a typeface designed specifically for your company.

Typeface is a voice. By using letters that can be seen in other places, you talk to your clients in one of the already existing voices — while using a bespoke typeface helps you gain your own voice. In the world where any brand seeks to create its own unique image, the typeface is an equally important tool as an original design.

A tailored typeface would be fully in line with your technical requirements. It speaks all the necessary languages and provides all the necessary typographic capabilities. If you need icons, it will have icons; if you need math symbols — it will offer those; if you need it to look perfect on any screen, it will.

A custom typeface is more efficient. The larger the company is, the more it would have to pay for using a publicly available font on its new computers, on new media, in new circumstances. Eventually, the amounts spent on licensing an existing font could turn out higher than a budget for a bespoke design.

How to properly commission development of a corporate typeface?

Designing a typeface is broadly similar to any other design, but there is a number of important differences. Firstly, before we start to work, we would like to know your aesthetic criteria — in any form that suits you. Naturally, you needn’t be aware of the professional language — we accept adjectives, metaphors (‘friendly’ or ‘aggressive’, ‘calm’ or ‘loud’), images, sounds, smells, impressions, nearly anything you find relevant and meaningful. We were once briefed through being shown a photo album — that was fun.

Secondly, you need to describe the future typeface as a tool: what it will be used for, in which situations it should work, and how many styles (i.e. design variants) it should have.

What stages are there in the design of a typeface?

We start each project by exploring possibilities and directions. We try to consider and visualize (through a smallest possible set of glyphs) all the ideas we come up with at this stage (you could suggest a certain phrase and an example of design for it). At this stage, sketches can be very raw, but they help us understand where we should move further.

Having decided on stylistics, we make test versions of typefaces with a basic glyph set. We deliver these versions to your designers who define what weight, what proportions, what contrast the letters shall have.

Right after this we fill all the gaps in the glyph set and deliver the font files to you for final testing. After approval, we begin mastering the final files, compiling all necessary formats.

How much does it cost to create a typeface? At least approximately?

Unfortunately, this question makes no sense without additional information. Despite our huge experience and dozens of successful projects under our belt, we still evaluate each new project manually — simply because there are no similar (much less identical) jobs in our portfolio. Depending on the case, a single font style may cost $1,000 as well as $15,000. The more precise number can only be given upon learning the details.

What affects the price of the project most?

Volumes of development work. The most labour-intensive things are language support, stylistic variations, and the amount of styles (e. g. regular, bold, semibold, italic). We don’t calculate the cost of a project based on the number of glyphs.

What rights do you transfer to a client after designing a bespoke typeface?

It depends on what our client requires. It is often the case that bespoke typefaces are transferred to clients only for an agreed period of time. International practice implies annual royalties for exclusivity — however, our clients normally prefer paying for an exclusivity period just once (the period is usually one, or three, sometimes five years). Obviously, we can also offer exclusivity ‘forever’, although this option barely ever interests anyone: nobody needs a typeface forever.

The customer always gets unlimited license rights of use either for a brand, or for a specific legal entity.

Can you create a wordmark from scratch?

Certainly. We would gladly discuss your vision of the wordmark, and suggest a number of type design options to fulfill your brief.

Could you help with the wordmark, in case the bulk of the graphic identity is already there?

Yes, we definitely could. We can design bespoke typography that would fit your identity the best. We can help update your existing logo without anyone noticing it — yet delivering a refreshed, sharper feeling (see our work for Yandex.)

If you are a design studio working looking for typographic expertise and assistance in your project — we could help you as well.

Which do you prefer: advising on Cyrillic, or designing the Cyrillic part of a typeface yourself?

Everything depends on the project and its deadlines. The faster, more efficient option is a turnkey project. We have delivered on projects that were unthinkable in terms of their size and urgency — that is only a question of budget. We are also often approached by practicing type designers who need a native and professional eye for their Cyrillic — and we are happy to lend one. In such a case, there would be a certain distance between our recommendation and the final product — the designer always has the last word and might decide to go with something we do not fully approve of.