Brand IdentityMarketing

Typography Will Save the World…

By January 11, 2018 No Comments

Typography will save the world…immediately after graphic design and rock & roll have their shot at it.

The Coca-Cola Company is hoping typography will at least bolster their marketing strategy and lead to increased sales. Earlier this week, Coca-Cola unveiled its first ever brand typeface, designed by Brody Associates in collaboration with Coca-Cola’s in-house design team. It is the company’s first brand owned typeface since it was founded in 1886, and follows the footsteps of other corporate giants throwing off the tyranny of Helvetica. Some of these include Intel (Clear Sans), Nokia (Pure), Channel 4 (Horseferry & Chadwick duo), BBC (Reith), GE (Inspira), IBM (IBM Plex), and YouTube (YouTube Sans) Note: Intel’s Clear Sans and IBM Plex have been released to the public for free usage.

TCCC Unity (Acronym for The Coca-Cola Company) was registered as a trademark in July 2017 and revealed earlier this week. The typeface draws inspiration from the Coca-Cola visual archive, encapsulating elements from the brand’s past and American Modernist heritage. Chief project designer, Neville Brody communicated that it was intended to replace the previous corporate font, which had been adopted by numerous corporations and was no longer unique. He was referring to Gotham, which has all but replaced Helvetica (the 20th-century corporate typeface) as the 21st-century corporate typeface. The type family includes 5 weights plus two Condensed weights for body copy.

Coca-Cola has also released a free app (iOS and Android) that contains information (mostly shared in this post) and exclusive audio interviews (not shared in this post) with James Sommerville (VP of Global Design for Coca-Cola Company), Neville Brody (CEO & Creative Director for Brody Associates), Luke Prowse (Senior Type Designer for Brody Associates), and Ted Ryan (Director of Heritage Communications for Coca-Cola Company).

Noted design historian, Steven Heller interviewed Neville Brody about the specifics of the project, which has been met with mixed reviews on the websites that reported on it. It’s much too early to tell what effect the project will have on Coca-Cola’s broader marketing strategy, but with the rising awareness of sugary drinks and health concerns, the bloggers at Fast Co. Design did not curb criticism of  Coca-Cola’s move. (Although introducing negative attitudes toward the brand, in general, to gain the reader’s emotional favor could be pinpointed as disingenuous at best. Very little critique is offered about the type family specifically.)

I’ve long been fascinated by the marketing of the Coca-Cola Company, which spends $4 Billion worldwide to place it’s product in front of your eyes at every possible chance and has embraced some interesting and wildly successful marketing campaigns (their name can, being the most recent.) Their brand awareness is such that in the South where I was raised, all carbonated soft drinks regardless of brand are referred to generically as “a Coke.” That attests to the power of their marketing strategy, which I hope to unpack in my next post.

About Robert W Williams

Robert is a Brand Alchemist specializing in archetypal analysis and strategy. When he's not blogging for Special Modern Design & Logos With Soul he works his magic at intj.design.

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