I recently designed some type-driven marketing materials for an event honoring jazz composers. I love jazz, and I love working with fonts, so this was a fun challenge. In the end, the client chose a distinctly type-centric treatment utilizing a font called, appropriately enough, Eloquent. Kind of dressy with just a bit of attitude, Eloquent brought to mind the Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk CDs that are always in heavy rotation in my house (and in this office!).
That melodious name – Eloquent – really speaks for all fonts. While most people don’t share my font obsession, everyone experiences the subtle seduction of typefaces on a daily basis. From signage to pop-up ads, from the restaurant you frequent to the car you drive, fonts have the power to stir emotions, passions, and ultimately to shape consumer perceptions and affect choices.
“The power of fonts to convey clarity and “voice” to words is enormous,” says Stephen Banham, founder of Letterbox, the internationally renowned typographic studio based in Melbourne. “You don’t need to know about the history of a font to appreciate it, because it will invariably convey its provenance to you on the page as you read it, hear it and feel it.”
In other words, every one of the thousands of fonts out there is, in its own unique way, a communicator, with individual quirks, specialties and appeal, what Banham refers to as “tone, volume, and pitch.”
Upfront, bold and in your face, or in the background, subtly supporting the bigger story; trumpeting the message with strong, prominent lines or utilizing the quiet power of negative space – fonts, when used well and applied strategically, create a genre of their own and work their own kind of magic.