Typography in Branding

Posted in Art & Design by Natalie on February 24, 2010

I think typography is one of those aspects of design that largely goes unnoticed, unless of course it’s really bad. But in almost every design equation you can be sure that words are a part of the formula. According to Design Basics Index by Jim Krause, typography becomes a sort of obsession for those designers who focus their time and energy to achieving the most appropriate and effective serif. And, having heard first hand of the perfectionist nature of designers (and even experienced my own inability to just walk away from an ongoing project), I don’t doubt this for a second. So this week, while thinking about typography and design I tried to just focus on the things I see everyday.

Now, this idea came to me as I was zoning out while working at a certain retail establishment in the city. Instead of actually listening to the customer bitching about the hangers (Um, yes ma’am, they’re what we use to hang clothes), I was trying to think of just what type of type I was going write about. And then it suddenly occurred to me; the light bulb floating above head suddenly turned on – labels. Labels and branding are a prime example of typography and probably one of the most active and out there representations. I spend hours each week looking at these logos – most notably the name of the store itself and it’s sister companies. All highly recognizable and reflective of the atmosphere they aim to cultivate within each store.

Anthropologie services the high-end customer while at the same time striving for a very bohemian look (paradox? yes. but that’s the fashion, people.). Their logo is whimsical, yet tailored. The sketchy quality is balanced by the rich looking design feature and straight-forward font of the brand.

Free People tends to cater to a younger crowd. This is inherent in the logo’s loose and free font. It fits the hippie-dippy feel of the clothing it’s stamped on. In addition, nothing says teenager like a dragonfly graphic.

Last, but surely not least, Urban Outfitters. Urban Inc. is the parent company within which all of these stores fall, and Urban Outfitters is its most recognizable store. Urban bridges the gap between the young aesthetic of Free People and the chic, sophistication of Anthropologie to bring a hip, urban sense of style that capitalizes on anything within the pop culture stratosphere and peddles it to it’s customers as something uniquely artsy. This logo design for a back-to-school line is a prime example. Urban wants to visually overload their customers, so we think we’re looking at something new and one-of-a-kind. And they’re highly successful at achieving just that – their logo, aesthetic, design is…cool.


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