Should Logos Have Unique Fonts?

One rule about fonts when using type in a design is to never tweak them. Leave that to the professional type designers, an art and discipline unto itself.

But, what about logos? Surely, Coke-a-Cola and other big companies create one-of-a-kind fonts for their logos. Yet most designers and illustrators that I know have little or no experience in type design. Do they hire professional type designers? Given what seems obvious, when assigned a logo project, I start with an existing font, and tweak perhaps one letter, or add an embellishment to part of the letter so that the logo is not just font plus picture or swoosh, but an integrated design. Check this out by visiting DDA’s logo portfolio, or DDA’s Sketchbook, which shows the logo creation process.

I did a search for font design programs, and found tons of programs available, some free, and some with dedicated members and forums. Wow! I did another search on “opinions about creating fonts”, and “creating fonts for beginners” and other variations to see if I could find any warnings about attempting to do this. Absolutely nothing.

So, I’ve decided to try out one of these programs, so that I might have more flexibility to create something unique when creating logos. But I do plan to learn the rules of good font design.

As an aside, one place where fonts are routinely squished and stretched is the art department of newspapers. In fact, there are keyboard shortcuts to do just this quickly and without limit. After witnessing this with shock by seasoned ad artists at the paper, I decided it was OK to do on a limited basis, but just for newspaper ads. Newspaper ads can be very small, and odd sizes for the amount of content that needs to go in them. Lacking sophisticated image resources because of the extra expense, they required creativity with clip art, gradient use, and font selections to make them attractive.

I was shocked again about font use, and how easy it seems to be to find programs to create fonts and find support. I hope it will open up a new door to better logo design.