Suggest the perfect font for a logo and receive $200 (or £125 / €150) if chosen ;-)

davefish's picture


I have a company that builds/manages web software as well as providing design services to a small number of clients. For quite a while we've looked at changing our logo to a simple wordmark. However; finding a perfect font that "just looks right" for our company name has proved elusive. We're great at designing stuff for other people but our own seems to be an achilies heel. To be honest, it's now driving me crazy lol.

People on here are extremely knowledgable about fonts (more so than me) so I thought I'd reach out for some help. If you suggest a font and we decide to use it, I will send you $200 (or £125 / €150) via PayPal.

i) The name of the company is Aylis
ii) Letters can be upper/lower (Aylis AYLIS aylis)
iii) Wordmark only (no icon).
iv) No restrictions on style.

i) No limit on suggestions but be sensible; don't spam every font you can think of.
ii) No 'close date' (if/when a font is chosen, it will be announced on here and the winner will get paid).

iii) ALL suggestions must be a link to a page or an embeded image that depicts our name using the font. Posts that say things like "Check out FontX" will be ignored.

You might only be a suggestion away from a nice bit of spending money (plus I really need some help lol). Get suggesting!


Theunis de Jong's picture

Jus' asking ...

iii) Wordmark only (no icon).

Does this imply that:

i) One cannot draw something new from scratch
ii) One cannot manually adjust an existing font (outlines)
iii) One cannot manually adjust an existing font (spacing)
iv) It has to be a commercially available font?

Would you use this font suggestion just for your company name, or do you expect to also use it for other purposes, such as full text, or a web page?

Chris Dean's picture

I posted it before and I’ll post it again:

This is called “working on speculation” (spec) and is considered by many to be highly irresponsible, unprofessional and even disrespectful to the practice. It takes advantage of young designers trying to enter the field and devalues what we do as professionals. If you want a quality product, find the right person for the job and pay them their fee. As you would a doctor or lawyer.

For more reading on spec-work and design ethics:

And many professional design association such as The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario, American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Graphic Designers of Canada will have job posting boards and resources to help you find the right client for the job.

For someone who has been a member of Typophile for over six years I would expect you to be aware of this.

1985's picture

Amen brother.

Pomeranz's picture

Here are three suggestions from me:

Secca Art Thin
Andreas Seidel Secca Art Thin

Lapture Display Italic
Albert Kapr/Tim Ahrens Lapture Display Italic

Herb Light
Tim Ahrens Herb Light

(A click on the image leads to a larger picture.)

Si_Daniels's picture

>This is called “working on speculation” (spec)

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of posts on typophile where people are asking for font suggestions without any offer of a "prize". So although I agree typophile should not become a haven for spec projects, perhaps Dave should be given the benefit of the doubt. Or maybe this is some kind of clever SEO for his company... :-)

JamesM's picture

If the original poster had just asked for some free suggestions, I'd have no objection. But by structuring it like a contest, with a list of rules and a prize, it stepped over the line into spec work.

The original poster may have meant well, but as Christopher said, contests like this are disrespectful to professionals and take advantage of young designers by asking them to work for free in the hope of winning a prize. You'd never ask a doctor, accountant, or other professional to work that way.

Please consider hiring a professional designer to work one-on-one with you. It's money well spent.

Gerhard Schlee's picture

Anyway, $200 for a font suggestion? With this money you could hire a designer to do a proper visual identity system for your company, not just suggest you a typeface...

I could design a complete visual identity system for $200, but I would never do spec work. No serious, experienced designer would.

I hope you understand the community's point of view and find the right person to do this job for you, Mr. Conway. ;)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

A complete visual identity system for $200? Seriously? Do you eat?

JamesM's picture

> With this money you could hire a designer to do a
> proper visual identity system for your company

Most professional designers I know charge in the range of $75 - $150 an hour, and a complete identity system costs thousands. $200 wouldn't even cover the time spent making phone calls and emails.

Start with a long meeting with the client to discuss their company and what they're trying to communicate. Spend time doing research (for example you need to know what their competitors use). Come up with concepts. Have a 2nd meeting with the client. Continue this thru several rounds until a final logo is chosen. Make the final art. Design the letterhead, envelope and card, and after approval make final art. Get estimates from printers. Meet with the printer, then later review the printer's proofs, and then maybe do a press check when the stationery is being printed. Design the signature line for corporate emails, and maybe design some common forms (fax, etc). Design and prepare a corporate identity manual (a big job in itself). And so forth. It's a LOT of work.

rubenDmarkes's picture

Hear hear.

That being said, €150 just for suggesting a typeface? Sounds fair enough to me. I might give it a shot. I'm sure, as Gerhard suggested, that many designers are doing whole identities for less. In fact, by saying what he said, I think he kind of undercut the whole argument…
Also, many young designers will often do stuff for free just to get some work under the belt, so getting paid for suggesting a typeface? Not too bad. Some of us feel like, at this point, we have to take whatever we can get.
Yes, ethics. But let us not forget what we're working for, in the end: not ethics; money. Doctors and lawyers and accountants too. And while I don't really much care for money and don't want it, most people (he said, unnecessarily ironically) who can get me the stuff I really want and need do. So when I decide I no longer want anything (because in reality that's what I need), I'll stop bothering. Until then…

davefish, might you give us some more information about the company and/or perhaps where you're trying to go (with your logo)?

So yes, I understand this argument I've seen many times and agree with it; but this is also a kind of bullying, because this argument makes people who would otherwise do this feel guilty for doing stuff for money. And you all do it. It doesn't matter how involved you are or how creative or how ethical or how serious; doing stuff for money is doing stuff for money. It's all bad. It's all selling out. We're not talking about killing someone, we're talking about suggesting a typeface. People who do not participate in contests – for whatever reason – are equal to people who do.

JamesM's picture

>doing stuff for money... It's all bad. It's all selling out.

Getting paid a fair wage for working hard and doing a professional job is bad?

rubenDmarkes's picture

I believe so, yes; mostly when you cross with people on the street who work half as hard and get twice or thrice or more. But there's a number of ways to get at this argument and that's not the issue.

I was just suggesting people shouldn't feel “unethical” for doing something like this. If you don't want to do it, fine; if you have a good reason for not doing it and want to share it, also fine; but let us not fall in the trap of thinking this makes us any better than anyone else… or that anyone who does it is worse than us.

I'm going to get slammed for saying this stuff, aren't I…?

JamesM's picture

> I was just suggesting people shouldn't feel
> “unethical” for doing something like this...

I entered a few spec contests myself when I was getting started, and I'm not criticizing those who do the same. I was criticizing the practice of -asking- for spec work; not those who might enter.

Si_Daniels's picture

>I was criticizing the practice of -asking- for spec work; not those who might enter.

Sort of like blame the dealer, not the junkie? That kind of makes sense.

Chris Keegan's picture

Unless I'm missing something, Dave is asking for suggestions, and not a finished logo. From my point of view this is not spec work.

Bendy's picture

Hmm, I thought about this earlier and decided not to post because it seemed too much like spec work...but also because there's no point in trying to suggest a font without knowing anything about the company. I don't think you'll end up with the best design this way.

Si_Daniels's picture

I googled the name using Bing and found...

For more about the company

blank's picture

I haven’t come in and started dropping f-bombs all over this thread, so clearly this is not an attempt at using Typophile for spec work.

rubenDmarkes's picture

Thanks, Sii. Pretty dumb of me not to think of searching the web…
Also, curious that you should make a point of mentioning that you used Bing. :P

Anyway, I'd still like davefish to tell us some more. What I wanted to know was where the company's headed. What's the point of the rebranding, what they are aiming for.

Chris Dean's picture

From the AIGA: “…speculative work—that is, work done prior to engagement with a client in anticipation of being paid…

And quoting davefish: “If you suggest a font and we decide to use it, I will send you $200 (or £125 / €150) via PayPal.

This is an exact example of spec work. It takes education, knowledge, experience, skill and time to select an appropriate typeface for a context. To do so in anticipation of being paid is the very definition of speculative work. We are being asked to design a “iii) Wordmark only (no icon)” in hopes of getting paid. I’m amazed there is even a conversation about this.

John Hudson's picture

This company plans to obtain the consulting services of multiple professionals but only have to pay one. I agree with Christopher, why is there even a conversation about this?

Arno Enslin's picture

I cannot find arguments against spec work if the relation between stake and winnings is fair. You can decide, if you want to play this game and you can decide about the height of your stake. Furthermore I would be more motivated without any winnings, because then I could say, that I just want to help. But 200 Dollars for searching for a typeface, with the help of which you can spare the money for customizing it, does not sound very fair.

John Hudson's picture

WT..? WT..? WTF?!

So I went to the Aylis website, and this is a company that offers logo design as one of its services. I'd assumed from the name and the fact that they wanted help picking a font that they sold hand lotion or diet pills. I was going to suggest that they hire a design firm but, oh, apparently they are a design firm.

Chris Keegan's picture

Is making a typeface suggestion work? That is all he's asking for right? Not a finished logo. Seeing that Dave has been a member here for 6 years, and he chose to post this on Typophile, and not somewhere to appeal to the "general design public" I took it as more of a gesture of goodwill myself. But, I can also see the other side of this argument, that once monetary compensation enters in to the deal, it becomes a business transaction. Dave, repost, with no reward next time and avoid the controversy.

davefish's picture

Seems I've sparked some contrversy over the last 24 hours.

I'll try and reply to everyone...

Theunis de Jong:
i) You can draw from scratch.
ii) You can manually adjust an existing font (outlines)
iii) You can manually adjust an existing font (spacing)
iv) It doesn't have to be a commercially available font

(not expecting this of anyone though)

Company name is the only requirement.

Christopher Dean
You haven't taken my post in the manner in which it was intended. I am a designer myself; I just have a mental block when it comes to this (sure we've all been there at some point...). I thought it would be nice to show my appreciation for help by offering a reward. I don't see how this is "irresponsible", "unprofessional" or "disrespectful". Are you saying I should have submitted the same question but requested help for free? Would that have been better?

Thank you for entering into the spirit. Much appreciated.

Sii Daniels
Thanks, you are spot on.

If there's a "next time", I'll ask for help without offering a thank you payment.

Gerhard Schlee
I would never ask anyone on here to come up with a visual identity for $200. I'm perfectly capable of dealing with that via work. My post says "font suggestion". I thought the chance of winning said amount for suggesting a font that suits the name was a fair present.

Well put! The company is Aylis Ltd (think digital media agency). I don't want to sway the direction. Being a media agency doesn't mean we should use vag rounded ;-)

Chris Keegan
Another one who "gets it". It's not like I asked for a finished logo, strap line, accompanying font, colour pallette, ,tone of voice, stationery and a business card design! I just want to find a bloody font! It's been annoying me for ages lol.

Thank you for your suggestion. Much appreciated.

Dunwich Type
Thank you.

Christopher Dean (again)
I'm amazed as well (but probably in a different way). If you can think of a font that might look good (off the top of your head) and wouldn't mind posting it, I'd be very grateful. Don't worry, I won't pay you. I'll just say... "Thanks!!! You're a star!!" ..and that'll be the end of it.

John Hudson
Haven't you just described a forum with the added bonus of potential payment?

Arno Enslin
Fair enough. If you can think of anything, please post it.

John Hudson (again)
Elementary my dear John. I haven't hidden this. The clue is in the opening sentence of my opening post.. "I have a company that builds/manages web software as well as providing design services to a small number of clients."

Chris Keegan (again)
Exactly. I haven't posted it anywhere else. I posted it on Typophile because I am specifically requesting help with font selection. I haven't gone to a crowd sourced logo farm or anything like that (the logo's we produce inhouse are superior). What I'm after is a starting font. We can handle the subtle tweeks to the letters, kerning etc... I'll never understand how posting the same question and expecting free help is better than offering a gift to fellow pro's for their time ;-)

Theunis de Jong's picture

I'd suggest to use the one you already have ;-)

It's firm and sturdy, yet friendly rounded. Is it Luc(as) de Groot's Corpid, by any chance?

(Don't worry about the payment, I don't have a PayPal account.)

davefish's picture

Theunis de Jong - Yes it's Corpid with the exception of the "y" which is a tweaked version of a font called Agenda. All the letters have had subtle modification.

Because the name is unique, I'd like to drop the butterfly icon but if I do that, I think the current font selection isn't "interesting" enough to be on its own. I'm really looking for a "flow" to the letters. It's not easy because the Y typically creates a lot of empty space next to the A and L (in lowercase). Pomeranz's suggestion of Herb Light (see above) is an example of a font that doesn't suffer this issue.

Arno Enslin - Thank you for your suggestion. Much appreciated!

apankrat's picture

> I googled the name using Bing and found...

Shouldn't it be "I bonged the name..."?

Dave, I think what rubbed many people the wrong way were the rules. Don't submit this, don't submit that, must look good in uppercase, etc... If you were to ask for a gratis font suggestions, having these sort of restrictions would've not yield you a single response. With the money in the picture it looks like you feel entitled to dictate your conditions and to tell people how to answer. That turns the topic from a friendly discussion into something more formal and business like. Hence the reaction.

> It's not easy because the Y typically creates a lot of empty space next to the A and L (in lowercase).

Perhaps consider italics?

davefish's picture

It might be worth re-reading the brief and then considering if it's restrictive. I'd say it's wide open. You've added "must look good in uppercase" not me. The only "don'ts" are to do with posting format which I think are fair.

The amount of time I've spent on Myfonts and Fontshop is embarrassing but I'll take another look at italics, thanks.

Té Rowan's picture

R. Yershov's Molot, an all-uppercase big-block of a face.

Si_Daniels's picture

The kerning will be an extra $50?

rubenDmarkes's picture

First I was going to suggest something like Liza, plenty of alternates or even small caps:

Then, anything by Underware, really, but mostly one of Auto’s italics or Bello:

Then, looking at Liza, I realized you could (maybe just almost) do an ambigram, something like so:

But this wasn't really working, readability-wise, so maybe you could just go really wild, like so:

Which kind of brings us back to the butterfly.
(Yes, I've got time. And other suggestions, but I thought this was enough spamming already.)

davefish's picture

penn: I think "Dala Floda" is really interesting. Maybe it's a little too "fragile" but certainly like how your eye makes up the letter from the negative space.

Té Rowan: Thanks very much for your suggestion.

rubenDmarkes: I'm really intrigued by the ambigram concept. It deserves some investigation time, thank you!

davefish's picture

Just been Googling... I think with the right execution, this ambigram tangent could be great. The "A" and "Y" can be flipped to produce the "L" "I" and "S". As demonstrated below (and above by Ruben)...

This is pretty inspiring:

rubenDmarkes's picture

It still doesn’t really work, but yeah, something to that effect. It’s possible that it’ll work in some kind of execution.
I was specifically trying to get away from squarish stuff, though. I get that you might like it or find it more suitable in some way, but I think you could use something more lively, more life-infused. You shouldn’t want to look square. Well, not that square, anyhow. Something not based on a typeface would be nice.
You’ll probably also run away from seriffed faces, but what about Fedra? With some added kerning, of course.

davefish's picture

Yeah sorry, the above is just to demonstrate the flip potential. I wouldn't want it as the logo. Not too keen on Fedra if honest. Thanks though.

rubenDmarkes's picture

Obviously, I understood that; but I was speaking in general. The face you're using right now is a bit too square, too. I was suggesting you went with something a bit more “humanistic”, if you will.

FrankSmith's picture
How can I show the image in this link? It's annoying not to have the image show here.
I think I'm onto a decent design here. The font is Eccentric French.

davefish's picture

Ruben: I agree. Don't want it to be sterile/unapproachable.

Frank: You are indeed sir! The letters flow really well together. To add the image into the post, you need to use a simple html image tag

FrankSmith's picture

Well, thank you Dave; I learn something new daily.
I won't be posting many images here on Typophile, but thanks to you, now I know how.
Where do we go from here?

davefish's picture

These are my "non-ambigram" faves:

But I really like the idea of mirroring the left and right:

If anyone can resolve this concept (doesn't have to be perfect, just how the letters should form) then I'm 99% sure they'll take the cash and make me the happiest guy on Typophile! My instinct is to say somewhere between the two above (I.e. not square but not full script).

Thanks to everyone for your input, it's much appreciated. I feel I'm finally getting somewhere with this.

rubenDmarkes's picture

Not very friendly, but it’s one of those modern, warmer approaches at blackletter, like Fakir, Brokenscript or Herb (slight differences in the a/s):

JButts's picture

Obviously I see some tweaks happening here, but perhaps Lourdes would be a good starting point?

davefish's picture

Ruben: Like it but agree with you on the friendly comment. Thanks for helping. At the end of this, whatever happens, you deserve thanks for coming up with the concept ;-)

JButts. Really like this! It's a bit too whacky/quirky (and reminds me of surfing..) in current form but love the way the letters work together. Needs some tweaks to tone it down and make it more "classy"; just not sure what yet.

Thanks guys. Glad I've asked for help - on the right path at long last!

davefish's picture

JB, I've been looking at your suggestion again and it's grown even more on me.

Looks good here:

Just wondering if you could make it a little more classy/elegant and a little less "rad"? My thinking was less slant on the letters and a wider range of line thickness. However, I've tried several things and none have looked as good as what you've already done! Any ideas? You're better than me at this :-)

Ps. Anyone else, please feel free to pitch in!

Arno Enslin's picture

Now it really becomes spec work, David. By the way, it is not yet an ambigram.

davefish's picture

That's a fair comment Arno. Right from the beginning though, my intention has been to say thank you financially. Not to say "you're skills/knowledge are worth X". I could have written the exact same post without the offer. It's an interesting psyche that some people are only prepared to help when there is no money involved. Maybe it's self gratifying to refuse participation. Anyway, I agree my last post was pushing it. Just so close to that YES moment ;-)

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