A couple of people have emailed us lately to ask for details on the de-lovely script font we use on this here website*, and that got me thinking that perhaps it would be helpful to some of you if I shared a few of my favourite resources for researching and test-driving typefaces. I use these for my clients as well as personal projects, but for those of you considering designing your own logo, it’s well worth looking into a tried-but-true staple of DIY logo design: Purchase a fabulous font, and set your company name in said typeface. It’s simple, but if you choose the right font, you can’t go far wrong.
So: Let’s begin with type shops. Here are my faves:
- Veer has one of the best type collections around, and their Flont tool (accessible from any typeface page on their website, once you sign up for a free account) lets you try before you buy. Don’t miss the Veer exclusives, especially Umbrella Type.
- MyFonts is a near-encyclopedic site that’s simply amazing for finding type by keyword. They do sell fonts, but they also provide tons of information on fonts they don’t sell. There’s great cross-referencing here, so if for example you’re just discovering the genius of Zuzana Licko, you can follow the links to all her beautiful font designs. Like Veer, MyFonts offers a “try before you buy” feature that shows up as soon as you’re on a font’s page. But perhaps one of the most incredible tools they’ve got is “WhatTheFont“, an uncannily accurate tool that can decipher a font from a graphic you upload.
- FontShop has an unbelievably stunning collection of fonts for sale. I subscribe to their newsletter, and every time it arrives in my inbox I sigh with delight. Case in point: Parisine, especially Parisine Plus Italic. See what I mean? [Sigh... So pretty.]
I’m leaving out a ton of my favourite type foundries here, because a) most of their fonts are sold through one of the above-listed sites, and b) I don’t want to overwhelm you. Believe you me, I could fill a book with this stuff.
Now that you’ve got your font in hand, what do you do with it? Well, first of all, it’s possible you may need to install a free piece of software in order to install your font. If, after downloading and opening your new font files, you don’t see the font in your font menu, you’d do well to install Adobe Type Manager, a nifty little utility that’ll help you organize and manage your fonts.
Got your font installed properly? Let’s proceed.
- The first step is to choose the right software. If you’ve got a copy of Illustrator, Fireworks, CorelDraw, or other vector graphics software, that’s perfect. I just heard about a free program called Inkscape that should work in theory, but I’ve never used it. Next in line would be something like Photoshop, but it’s less than ideal. If you don’t have the right software, ask around — chances are someone you know does, and can let you use their computer for this. Worst case scenario: Hie thee to Kinko’s — they usually have Illustrator on their computers, and you can pay a nominal hourly fee for use of their computers.
- Create a new document, select the Type tool, and type in your company name. Adjust the relative sizing, etc. as needed. (For example, in our corporate logo, “Raised Eyebrow” is big, and “Web Studio, Inc.” is smaller.)
- I recommend leaving colour out of this for the time being. Your logo will probably be reproduced in black and white in certain cases (faxes, for example, or B&W printouts of documents), and you want to make sure it looks good in those contexts. You can always add colour in later.
- You may want to experiment with a few different options. Print them out so you can see how they look in print, not just on a screen.
- Save the file(s), ideally as an EPS file — and while you’re at it, create yourself a PDF as well. Sometimes multiple formats come in handy.
Now that you’ve got your logo file, you can play with colour, and import it into whatever programs you need it for. Dead easy, and I guarantee that a simple logotype (that’s designer speak for a type-only logo) created with a well-designed typeface will put you ahead of 80% of your competition.
Questions? Leave ‘em in the comments. And if you find yourself the perfect typeface, I’d love to hear about it.
(*Are you one of those people who loves the script font we used for the graphics here? It’s Miss Fitzpatrick, designed by the incredibly talented young Argentinean designer Alejandro Paul; you can buy it through Veer.)