Digital brands love designing their own fonts

Twitter announced its own font last week, one of several digital brands to do the same.

Last week, Twitter changed its typeface from Segoe UI to its own Chirp, which it says blends American Gothic, European Grotesque, and “quirks of early woodcut specimens.”

It’s designed to be both “messy and sharp,” suitable for both silly and serious Tweets.

Many digital companies come up with their own typefaces

Sans-serif fonts like Ariel or Verdana are often considered more legible online than serif fonts like Times New Roman or Garamond — including for people with dyslexia.

Fonts are also designed to be memorable and evoke the right emotions:

  • Netflix switched to its own typeface, Netflix Sans, in 2018. It’s got “cinematic” uppercases and “compact and efficient” lowercases.
  • Apple’s Chicago typeface, designed by Susan Kare in 1984 for the 1st Macs, had to be legible on low-res screens.
  • Airbnb’s blocky Cereal typeface had to be legible both online and on billboards, and feel “friendly and approachable.”
  • Facebook created an all-caps wordmark to differentiate the company from the app, and its lowercase blue wordmark.
  • Ebay debuted Market Sans in 2017, plus a flowchart explaining how it’d ensure the new font didn’t slow down browsing.

Fun fact: Typefaces are the umbrella under which fonts live. For example:

  • Helvetica is a typeface
  • Helvetica italics is a font

However, most people use the words interchangeably. #themoreyouknow

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