The move to a digital world has brought fonts back into focus
for many marketers. What works in print doesn't always transfer
well to desktops, tablets and mobile devices. Different screen
sizes with varying resolutions and scalability can be an issue, and
certain font designs don't translate well into foreign languages.
And for big brands, fonts can be expensive, since digital-licensing
fees are often calculated by web views.
For eight years, Intel used a font called Neo Sans Intel, a
customized version of Neo Sans created by font fondry Monotype. But
it was designed for print. It had "an engineered feel that we
wanted to move to something that felt more human," said Red Peak
Chief Creative Officer Stewart Devlin. And functionally, it needed
to be easier to use and share.
Dalton Maag's lead designer spent a month in New York with Red
Peak, hand drawing at first and then testing ideas digitally and in
a variety of marketing materials. No one would put a price tag on
Intel's effort, but Dalton Maag Creative Director Bruno Maag
estimated the cost for an original font can range between $100,000
to $200,000, depending on complexity. Recreating a brand font in
Chinese, for instance, requires to create 27,500 characters in the
font that must go through a rigorous government assessment and
But he noted that a proprietary font can be less expensive than
the hundreds of thousands of dollars multinational brands often pay
in licensing fees, including digital fees, for different languages
and customization of labor.
Intel isn't the only brand that's created its own font:
Nokia, Toyota Europe, BMW and GE have also