Font Choice for Curated Store/Gallery

highlight's picture

I'm in the mist of starting a curated store/gallery in San Francisco and online that will focus on limited edition fashion, furniture, music,design, objects, art books and magazines from a specific region. The first region I'm going to focus on is Belgium. It will be a collection with vintage industrial pieces as well as "cutting edge" contemporary pieces.

I'm calling the store Highlight which is the brand name that will expand to include Highlight Belgium, Highlight California, Highlight Japan, etc. For every country or region I would like to use a specific font, however I would like the word Highlight to always stay consistent.

A few questions for you.

1. Does the community have any recommendations on a source for regional specific fonts?
2. For the word "Highlight" what fonts are versatile and can compliment the regional specific fonts for the region?

microspective's picture

Hello, and welcome to Typophile! Your store sounds awesome. I wish I wasn't on the East coast!

Some answers:

1. Using region-specific fonts is often discouraged, as they frequently tend to add to a stereotype and thus look gimmicky with tasteless results. You may want to consider using one or two type families and, say, use colors specific to each geo-political region. If these Highlight areas are separate from one another, it may be a very effective and dramatic approach.

2. Have you considered hiring a graphic designer with strong typographic skills rather than trying a do-it-yourself design approach?

I realize these probably aren't the kinds of answers you're looking for, but they're worth consideration.


riccard0's picture

What Microspective said. You could find some food for thought in this somewhat related thread:

highlight's picture

Thanks for the comment microspective. I'm working with a designer right now and he's taking his time to come up with ideas. I'm playing the role of creative director and he's playing the role of a draftsmen with little creative input. I have been tentative about playing with "country specific" fonts for the same gimmicky reasons that you mentioned.

I was thinking of using "regional or "country specific" coloring to denote the country to the font. Similar to what Wallpaper* magazine did with their Brazil issue a couple months ago.They used their same font but colored the various letter green or yellow to denote the country.

Creative but obvious, I'm searching more for a sort of logo/design that the user will not be able to grasp at first glance but have an "ah-huh" moment on second glance. For years, I never saw the arrow in the negative space of the FedEx symbol until someone pointed it out to me. Now the arrow is the only thing I look at it when I see a FedEx truck.

Thanks for the suggestions and please keep them coming.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

Using region-specific fonts is often discouraged, as they frequently tend to add to a stereotype and thus look gimmicky with tasteless results

… which means that being an awsome task for some skilled type designer. Just in case you’re going to feature Ireland some day, this is for me what a localized font may look like if it is meant *not* to appear gimmicky. ;-)

Nick Shinn's picture

It's very easy to use a "regional" font -- choose a type designer from that region.
A little reality to go along with the perception.

highlight's picture

@Nick - great idea. A regional font doesn't need to be clover's for the letter O for the Ireland store or a soccer ball for the letter O for Brazil or even Spain. A designer from that region will do the trick to make the store authentic.

That being said - Can anyone recommend type designers from Belgium, Brazil, and Turkey (since these will be the first three countries I'm going to focus on)

@Microspective - the store will be online as well so you can get a taste of it on the east coast of any country.


Rembrandt's picture

Omar Chafai graduated in 2009 with an MA in graphic design from KASK (the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Gent, Belgium), with a thesis project entitled De ontwikkeling van het Arabische schrift in relatie tot het Latijns schrift. His graduation project involved the development of the very readable text typeface Nelson.

Rembrandt's picture

I don't think the variations for the regions should be based on type, nobody will ever understand, even the type experts. I think you could use a creative approach based on other symbols that could also be treated with some level of sophistication and refinement but will communicate the message better.

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