Choosing type and finding fonts

When I speak to someone about their new side project idea, inevitably the question is asked: how should it be branded? This conversation is usually one I have with developers and engineers, but by no means them exclusively.

“Forget about colours, imagery and grids for now”, I say, “and start by looking at type”. It’s the structural foundation that’ll underpin the whole project. What better place to start?

But there’s a problem. Finding typefaces that can really belong to projects is tough, even if you’ve worked with type for years. Where do you start? What are you looking for, and how do you know when you’ve found it?

Two articles I recently wrote for Typecast are aimed at answering these questions.

Narrowing the field (the theory bit)

This first article documents how I figure out what I want from a typeface in terms of feel and function, where I go to look and how I test my choices.

Show and tell (the practical bit)

This more hands-on case study looks at how the workflow from my first article actually played out in the branding of the Earnest iPhone app I worked on, how I arrived at a final choice of typeface and how I turned that into the final logotype.

My hope is that the articles not only give developers and engineers more confidence when trying to find type, but that the articles act as useful refreshers for those of us already experienced in working with type.

I’d love to know where you think there’s room for improvement, or if there’s an aspect of type you’d like to know more about.