Services

Fontsmith is now part of the Monotype Studio. The Monotype Studio offers a suite of services that help the world’s leading brands design, define and express their voice through type. From custom and modified type design, to helping brands expand into new global territories without breaking their brand system, our experts help you determine how to make type an impactful part of your brand strategy.

Amsteldok Variable Logo

A responsive logo which changes according to interaction and time, as people move throughout the space so do its letterforms

Brief

Fontsmith were commissioned by VBAT in late 2018 to develop a modular logo for Amsterdam’s new WPP campus called Amsteldok. Together we questioned whether there was an opportunity to develop an interactive and responsive typeface, a show piece artwork that played on the type’s modular flexibility. We wanted to use variable font technology to create something truly responsive and unconventional. As designers we wanted to bring a new take to new technology, to create a practical font with experimental properties, something that has never been seen before.

There was a clear vision that the logo’s type could be pushed beyond a static logotype, it could respond to user interaction; becoming a system for wayfinding cues throughout the building.

Approach

The logotype was created by initially experimenting with the letter proportions, while maintaining the core essence of the mark. Several final versions became “font masters” which could then be interpolated and blended to create a huge number of new variations. We then worked with developer Carlos Sánchez to create a responsive software that would animate the logo fonts design axis on screen according to people’s movements.

We wanted the work to embody the brand colour scheme but we also wanted to build in another function, an idle state colour scheme that allowed the logo to reflect a sense of time. We created a colour scheme that adapts every 40 minutes, following the sun’s journey throughout the day – shifting from hues of blue at night to yellows in the day.

Result

The Amsteldok letters form a morphing, fluid variable logo font that responds to user interaction via a heat mapped camera. So as people move through Amsteldok’s reception area, the font adapts too, empowering everyone to have fun with the logo, bringing the identity to life to create a more physical and immersive brand experience.

VBAT is currently in the process of developing a set of visual identity principles to be used across all global WPP campus locations, using Fontsmith’s FS Industrie typeface family.

“The logo is a living entity: it’s always ‘breathing’ (even at rest like us); responding to people and movements in real-time. The letters react to the surroundings and to one another within the constraints of their grid, while still maintaining consistency as a distinct, recognisable and playful brand mark.”

— Senior Designer Pedro Arilla