What’s the value of custom type?

The idea of creating a bespoke typeface that’s personal to a brand is becoming increasingly appealing. We speak to Jelly about how custom typefaces have evolved and their power when used properly

An off-the-shelf typeface can be useful for a number of reasons. There are lots to choose from, all the parts are there, no outside parties have to be involved, and it just requires buying a licence. But often this approach is only handy in the short term – long term there are all sorts of limitations and so an alternative, and a rising trend, has been the adoption of custom typefaces by brands.

“If there are other elements within your branding that are unique, and you think your messaging is strong enough without it, perhaps you can use an off-the-shelf font,” says Chris Page, founder of Jelly. “But I think you get better value if you think about the whole thing rather than bolt on one thing to another.”

The lack of cohesion that sometimes comes with off-the-shelf typefaces is a common problem simply because they’ve been designed by someone else without your brand in mind. At Jelly, the team have created custom typefaces and lettering for a range of brands and projects including Stella, Cadbury, Amazon, YouTube and Whole Earth, so are now well versed in the advantages something unique can carry.

Top and above: custom typeface for The Life Artois campaign, Stella Artois, Jelly