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. Published January 02, 2022

Custom Font: Volleyball World

Designing a variable font based on width's rhythmic

In early 2021 we were contacted by Ogilvy Social.Lab Amsterdam to work with them on the design of a tailor made font for the new visual identity of Volleyball World.

Volleyball World is a new partnership between the FIVB and the CVC Capital Partners aimed at driving growth, innovation, and investment in volleyball around the globe. Volleyball World’s goal is to create an integrated ecosystem connecting all volleyball stakeholders (fans, athletes, corporate partners) together through both digital and live events.

The whole team working at Ogilvy Social.Lab is a group of amazing, dedicated people. We were eagger to work with them on a brand new font variation based on the design structure of Surt font family.

Tailor made variable font
Tailor made variable font, Art direction by Ogilvy Social.Lab Amsterdam

Now, typeface are one of the most important thing to consider when working on a brand's identity. It's not an under statement as we all communicate using words and therefore fonts have an crucial role when communicating with anyone. It's always a challenge to design something with strong character while maintaining enough legibility. After all, these glyphs are to be paired with colors, images, animations & so on. It's always important to consider what needs to be designed in terms of typeface but also how and where the fonts are going to be displayed.

The whole concept was straightforward: the design team working at Ogilvy's idea for Volleyball World was a very dynamic graphic system with a strong type focus. When it came to their font uses, they needed something that could show great balance & rhythmic while allowing a super wide range of possible width variation in the font in order to have a strong & playful tool to design with.

The full character set based on Surt's structure
The full character set based on Surt's structure

Working on a custom made font design is always an exciting challenge. In order to nail the work it's important to build a strong relationship with the people you're working with and communicate as much as possible. Leave no stones unturned and explain the whole design process, every steps.

We chatted a lot with everybody involved, and based on Ogilvy's design team amazing feedbacks, we quickly were able to create a wide set of widths variation based on Surt Ultrabold. This custom font based on Surt's strong structure would be the main font weight of the visual identity. In order to allow an easy access to the different widths created for each uppercase glyph, we decided to make full use of ligatures open type features.

Making use of opentype ligatures to allow an easy use of the font
Making use of opentype ligatures to allow an easy use of the font
How to application of the different ligatures & variable
How to application of the different ligatures & variable

While there are many different ways, through scripting and font engineering, to access such a wide range of width variation & alternates, ligatures seemed to be the easiest & most handy way to make a full use of the different widths inside the family.

Now, Variable version have been around for quite some time and it would have made no sense not to make use of this great technollogy in order for the font family to be even more easy to work with in both motion design and of course app & web design.

Volleyball World font family variable showcase
Volleyball World font family variable showcase

One of the may challenge when working on a font family with a super wide range of uses (from print to screen with all possible states of a width variation) is to maintain a structure consistency within each glyphs. As such we had to refine the whole structure of the Surt font family to turn from a very circular design to a more squared one.

How to application of the different ligatures & variable
How to application of the different ligatures & variable

What thrive us when working on a custom project is to picture what our clients are going to be designing with our work. This is always a thrilling feeling to see a font in use. You can see the amazing visuals designed by Ogilvy Social Lab for Volleyball World on their instagram account, app or their website.

Volleyball World font family showcase
Volleyball World font family showcase
Got a custom font project? Get in touch with us about it!

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