font consistency and corporate look

Subject: font consistency and corporate look
From: RÃdacteur en chef <editorialstandards -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com >> TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2012 16:56:37 -0500

Techwhirlers,

Perhaps you can tell me if I'm alone in this boat, or how the issue was
addressed where you work.

The corporate employer revamped the branding a few years ago, which
included a relatively
obscure font to complete the corporate look. We bought licenses for some
marketing people,
some graphic-creative people, and some technical writers.

The announcement was sent out with the new-version logos, the new colors
with their
numeric designations in RGB, CMYK, etc., instructions on the parameters for
photos
(types of content, coloring), instructions for graphic elements (where on
the page,
what size, relationship to other page elements), and so on.

Included was this curious note:
The official corporate font to use in announcements, press releases,
advertising,
and other messaging is <finesubtlefont>. If <finesubtlefont> is not
available, you
may substitute Arial, Verdana.

As they were not intending to buy font licenses for most of the employees,
it meant they were reserving its use to a couple of dozen people among a
couple
of thousand. Everybody would write and communicate, inside or outside the
company,
with Arial.

I find all sorts of things wrong with this. For example:

1) Nobody but a typeface designer, hobbyist, or graphic-arts type could
even tell
that they were reading <finesubtlefont> and not Arial or Helvetica.
If you put two unlabeled samples side-by side, 99 people out of 100 could
not
tell you which was which. If you presented them serially, those same 99
would not even notice that there'd been a change.

2) If you don't intend to be consistent, right from the get-go, then why
even
make the effort? Either nobody can tell (see above) in which case you've
paid money and expended time and effort to make a difference that is not
a difference, or some people can tell the difference and they will think
your company sloppy for failure to be consistent.

3) The obscure company that made the font made it for print and PDF.
It took a graphic-arts major to even find them. They have a statement
on their website that explicitly forbids using @fontface or Cufon or sIFR
or typeface.js or any other technology that would allow bringing
<finesubtlefont> to either web pages or WebHelp and HTML5 Help.
Furthermore, they state that they have a solution in the works, but
the statement is not dated, and there's not even a SWAG as to when
the solution might become available.

If this is a one-off problem, then our corporate suits should consider
re-thinking.

If this is a common problem, then what is the common solution?

</kevin>

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(*)/ (*)
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