A Stroke of Genius: The Role of Calligraphy in Brand Identity
Updated: May 31
Ever thought about how calligraphy gets used in branding? This ancient art form has made a comeback in the world of branding and advertising, and it's not just for your grandparents. Calligraphy has a powerful effect on our brains, triggering different emotions and reactions. For example, elegant and flowing calligraphy can make us feel relaxed and calm, while bold and strong calligraphy can make us feel powerful and confident. Designers use different styles of calligraphy to create a unique and memorable visual impact that resonates with consumers, making them feel connected to the brand.
So, let's take a look at some of the coolest brands that have incorporated real calligraphy into their logos. Did you know that Coca-Cola's script logo is based on the Spencerian script? That's right! Spencerian script was a popular form of handwriting in the United States in the 19th century, and it is beloved for its flowing, graceful curves. The Coca-Cola logo's script was specifically designed to evoke feelings of positivity in consumers.
And here's another fun fact. The intricate lines and flourishes of the Brooks Brothers' logo are based on a pointed pen script known today as Copperplate calligraphy! The Brooks Brothers' logo is a great example of how Copperplate calligraphy can be used effectively in branding to create a sense of tradition, luxury, and quality.
And it's not just Coca-Cola and Brooks Brothers – other iconic brands have used other styles of Copperplate calligraphy to make an impact such as:
Cadillac: The American luxury car brand's logo features a custom-designed Copperplate script that has been used since the early 1900s. The script gives the logo a classic and refined appearance that reflects the brand's values and identity.
Estée Lauder: The American cosmetics company's logo features a custom-designed Copperplate script that has become an iconic symbol of the brand's luxury and sophistication.
Another script that gets used in branding are broad edge scripts like Blackletter script, also known as Gothic script. This style of calligraphy features dense, black lettering with ornate and angular lines proves to be a popular choice to communicate strength and power. While Blackletter script itself is not commonly used in modern branding, brands use variations of it in their logos and other visual designs. Here are some brands that use variations of scripts that use a broad edge nib:
The New York Times - The newspaper's masthead features a variation of blackletter calligraphy that has become a symbol of journalistic stability and integrity.
Warsteiner - With its blackletter logo, this German beer brand emphasizes its rich heritage and traditional brewing methods.
Corona Extra - This beer brand features a custom blackletter script that is bold and stylized. The script is contained within a circular emblem with a crown on top, which gives the logo a sense of royalty and distinction. The color scheme is primarily blue and gold, which further emphasizes the brand's premium and upscale image. Overall, the logo exudes a sense of strength and authority, while still maintaining a modern and stylish aesthetic.
Disneyland (original logo) - The studio's original logo features a variation of broad edge calligraphy featuring Foundational hand that conveys a sense of magic and wonder.
Brands have historically used calligraphy to create specific vibes — from relaxed and chill to bold and powerful! It's not like regular text - it hits us in a special way. For example, flourished pointed pen calligraphy can make us feel relaxed and at peace, while strong and bold calligraphy can make us feel like we're ready to take on the world. Branding experts and designers know this and use calligraphy styles to create a look that sticks in our minds and makes us feel connected to their brand. It's a strong way to stand out and make a lasting, memorable impression.
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