The usual process for a company re-brand is to plan everything internally, ahead of time, behind closed doors, and then launch it all at once. But we’re going to try something different.
We’ve had our current branding for a couple of years now, and it has been (and still is) serving us well.
We want a brand refresh, but importantly, not an outright re-brand. We have an established brand image with our customers, so we’re going to freshen it up, make it better, and refine it.
Advent is nice enough in it’s own way, but there are some niggles when using it out in the real world. Some of the characters don’t work that well, and can be illegible in certain contexts. Trebuchet is fairly nice overall, and although it’s available by default on many computers, it’s by no means ubiquitous across them all.
Over the past few months, we’ve been enjoying the use of Google Web Fonts, which enables the use of free, open-source fonts on the web that users wouldn’t normally have installed. Because the fonts at Google Web Fonts are free and open-source, this means you can use them anywhere, without any licencing restrictions. This includes downloading them and using them in printed work.
So we’ve been thinking: wouldn’t it be great if you could have really nice fresh modern fonts, and be able to use them for free, both on the web and in our printed material? That’s why we’re hoping to start using fonts available from Google for all of our public-facing media: websites, leaflets, letters, and adverts.
We’ve already tried out Open Sans, which we find great for body copy and smaller text. It has a nice fresh, legible, and friendly feel about it, which is just what we’re looking for to replace Trebuchet.
For the brand typeface, we like the style of ‘sister fonts’ Neo Sans and Neo Tech. Like Open Sans, they have a modern, friendly feel, but also don’t look too informal, and retain a reliable, robust image.
The sad thing with commercial fonts like these though, is that they can be very expensive once you start considering all the different weights involved (light, regular, semi-bold, bold, etc.). There are also problems with restrictions when it comes to using them on other mediums, such as the web. Even if use on the web is allowed, it could involve hosting the files on your own server, thereby increasing bandwidth load for you and your users. We’re by no means against paying for fonts, but we’d prefer to have as few limitations as possible.
This is why we’d much rather use a font from Google Web Fonts. This would bring the following benefits:
- The font would be free
- It’s incredibly easy to implement for use online
- No additional bandwidth load on our server
- No restrictions on where the font can be used
- If someone has visited another site also using the same font from Google, they will likely already have the font stored in their browser cache, making font loading process speedier
- Our website would receive all updates and improvements to the font without us lifting a finger
Luckily for us, a project was recently launched by Natanael Gama in Portugal on Kickstarter, in an effort to fund his font, ‘Exo Sans‘ to become available for the world on Google Web Fonts. Exo Sans caught our eye, and we immediately wanted to use it.
As you can see in the typeface specimen images, both Open Sans and Exo Sans have a big family of varying weights, which is very helpful.
Two of us have already pledged towards the project, and although it’s not yet fully funded, it’s got a little while left, so we’d encourage those that would be interested in using it to put something towards the goal. It’s a simple process: you can choose how much to donate, and depending on how much you donate, you can opt for some nice treats if the project succeeds. Also worth noting is that if the project doesn’t reach it’s target funding, no-one is charged a penny.
If Exo Sans succeeds in reaching it’s goal, anyone will be able to use it on any website, or to download the font to use anywhere they like.
The Brand Mark
We expect that the brand mark will stay largely the same, as we still like it, and we think it works. We’ll probably tidy up a couple of details and make some subtle improvements, but we think it will still be very recognisable as the Venture Banners that our customers already know.
We’re not sure exactly when we’ll be starting the brand refresh, but it will likely depend on the availability of Exo Sans, and if it reaches the funding target.
We hope to document our process and share the things we decide to do, here on the blog. Hopefully it will be of interest to the designer types, and might even help give you some ideas.