Typeface for a Lego advertisement

vtu22_2's picture

Hi Everyone! I have an assignment that I hope you can help me with. I’m designing a Lego advertisement billboard which is targetted towards parents about their past interactions with Lego.

What I need is a typeface that reflects on the 1950’s (Because Lego first began to use plastic injection moulds around this time), however needs to have a friendly, inviting mood. The other problem is that the typeface can’t look too out dated because it’s a billboard for the present time. I’ll bulletpoint things to make it easier:

- Require a 1950’s typeface
- The type needs to have an inviting, friendly mood
- When parents look at this billboard, the typeface should have a nostalgic feel
- The typeface can’t look too out dated (Sounds like a contradiction - how can it be nostalgic and not look too outdated???)

It seems like I’m having trouble. I thought about using Comic Sans since it has a kid like feel, however, doesn’t reflect a 50’s feel.

If anyone has some really good suggestions about choosing a good typeface or anything else, Please post! =)

hrant's picture

Maybe a pixelfont.
Or The Foundry's "Fodor" face, based on Wim Crouwel's original - it rules.


Dan Weaver's picture

Go to Font Dinner and take a look around. Nice retro fonts.

Jan Sandvik's picture

I think Sauna might work. It's "childish" in a certain way and has some features suggesting 50s lettering. Still it's modern in many ways.

I also suggest you to study Lego packaging from the 50s, recycling some things from the old packages might do wonders.

What ever you do, please - I repeat - please, don't use Comic sans.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

VAG Rounded, me thinks.

Yes, I'm back!

kennmunk's picture

Start the slaying of me: Helvetica Bold, I think that's what they originally used.

how much text is it? You could build the words of lego. Red 2x4s.

vtu22_2's picture

Thank you very much guys! I really appreciate your time and effort to help me with this. I'm a bit lousy with typeface choices! =)

Do you guys recommend a sans serif font or a serif font for modern billboard designs out of the ones stated?? I'm finding Sauna a very good choice so far!! Thanks Jan Sandvik! =)

Randy's picture

I just used Sauna yesterday for a job. This font kicks much butt! Great in text. Superb in display. My only beef is that it needs the open type treatment. I need more figure options! For example, I almost always want Cap Height numerals for the Black weight in display, but it comes with OSF. I give Suana 4.5 golden dingbats out of 5.

Dear Underware,

Please update your buttkicking font sauna, and bring it to opentype glory.
Hopefully, with a minimal upgrade price for T1 users.

Randy Jones

Stephen Coles's picture

Nick Shinn's Brown Gothic has a subtle, friendly, hand-drawn '50s feel, especially at large (billboard sizes), without being too kitschy.

Jan Sandvik's picture

Great suggestion, Stephen. Brown has the Lego-helvetica feel but with added friendliness.

vtu22_2's picture

There's not a great deal of text. Since it's an advertisment, the text is kept short for a quick read.

What do you mean by 'build the words of Lego'? Do you mean design the type by hand? Sounds interesting actually... =)

Stephen Coles's picture

If you want a little more dance than Brown, try Akemi Aoki's tastefully frisky Grenadine.

vtu22_2's picture

Grenadine looks great! It's got a subtle, relaxed typeface! Thanks Stephen! Are there anymore you could perhaps suggest? Perhaps another family from Grenadine?

Thanks! =)

Stephen Coles's picture

Well here's Grenadine 1 (lighter weights) and here are other fonts by Akemi Aoki.

You might also like Bovine from the same foundry (MVB Fonts), but it's a little more art deco than '50s.

Rodrigue Planck's picture

Hey there,
Antique Olive Nord, and the italic creates great movement. Created by Roger Excofon in 1954, for AirFrance. It was very famous in its time. I think on many levels this font would work great for you.
Rodrigue Planck

The Truth shall set you free

vtu22_2's picture

Hi everyone! Thanks for everyone's opinion about what typeface is suitable for the job! I'm currently studying at university and tried to find the fonts that people recommended. Unfortunately, my university doesn't offer any of the ones stated.

My question is that can anyone suggest ideas to replicate typefaces? Most of the websites offer typefaces to download (about $150+) for certain fonts. As a student, I don't have that kind of money to give away, especially on a tight budget. Fonts such as Brown, Grenadine, or Antique Olive Nord would be great! I'm quite interested in the font grenadine.

If anyone by chance has the font grenadine by Akemi Aoki, please reply. I don't know how much I can offer you, but we could come to some agreement perhaps.

Thanks for your time again! =)


Stephen Coles's picture

Vincent - is this a commercial job? Many foundries will offer discounts to students and non-profits.

Please keep in mind you're not exactly "giving away" the money (for Grenadine it's close to $20 per font) - you're compensating human beings, including the designer who created it and the people who make it possible to sample and buy it.

vtu22_2's picture

Hi Stephen! No, this isn't a commercial job, as in it's not going to be distributed to the public or be sold. The project is for my portfolio for my second year graphics course.

Could you suggest any foundaries that will offer discounts??

Thanks! =)

Dan Weaver's picture

Go to font dinner they have a lot of free fonts or visit Nick Shinn and get directed to his free fonts. Blue Vertigo is a good resource to find type and other images free and commercial.

Si_Daniels's picture

Vincent, you should edit your post...

> If anyone by chance has the font

...it could be interpreted as asking someone to provide you with a copy of the font.

Cheers, Si

dan_reynolds's picture

Linotype offers a 30% discount for students: http://www.linotype.com/16993/linotypeadvantagesdiscount-doc.html

I remember T-26 offering student discounts as well, but I don't have a link to back that up.

TBiddy's picture

$20 is reasonable to pay for an individual font, but realistically students cannot afford to pay for every font they use. I know that's not the popular answer here on Typophile, but students are poor.

I think more foundries should contact Universities and make deals with them for font usage, students should be able to use decent fonts too and still afford to eat.

William Berkson's picture

Adobe Classics for Learning, which is an amazing value for students, includes Calcite, which might work for you for this project.

vtu22_2's picture

Sorry about my wording from my last post. When I read back what I wrote, it did sound wrong. My apologies Si.


Stephen Coles's picture

FontShop also provides a 30% educational discount on FontFonts and Linotype fonts. Drop 'em a line.

Dan Weaver's picture

A friend of mine is putting his daughter through Yale first year tution: $40,000. So most students don't have a lot of money for much of anything so its refreshing to hear about the foundry discounts for students. I hope they promote these facts to the institutions that have typography courses.

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