Monthly Archives: May 2013

Dalton Maag Help Michel Concentrate on New Logo

Dalton Maag have recently refreshed the logotype of Swiss fruit juice giant, Michel, building upon its previous much-loved and established script logotype. As part of the rework, the designers at Dalton Maag made the necessary refinements to the original whilst also preserving the heritage of the mark.

Michel original packaging

This historical Michel poster inspired the refinements

It was essential that the design retained the unique character of the original, but also moved it forward typographically. A script can infuse a logo with a freshness and vitality that type can often struggle to match, so approaching the brief from a lettering perspective was key to maintaining its spontaneity.

Michel in dev

Drawing in progress

We looked at harmonising the contrast in keeping with the angle of slant, which helped to create a fluid and pleasing rhythm across the letterforms. Connecting strokes were slightly thinned to sharpen the overall appearance, and hairlines have been made consistent in weight. The x-height and overshoot were also tempered to prevent individual characters from jumping above and below the baseline. Removing the bluntness of the original, the terminal of the c has been shaped appropriately for this kind of brush-inspired style and the shoulder of the h has also been contracted to avoid unnecessary white space. Additionally, The distinctive splayed M, which sets the tone of the mark, has been given subtle definition where the strokes meet to avoid blackness when reproduced at small sizes.

Michel Original-01

Current Michel logo

Michel New-01

New logo refined by Dalton Maag

The new design feels cleaner and more balanced without losing its hand drawn charm, and places the Michel brand in a strong position for the future.

Stuart Brown

Refined Wordmark Created for Medal Manufacturer Huguenin


Huguenin wanted a new wordmark for their business.

Huguenin are manufacturers of high quality medals and other minted metalwork items. Based in Switzerland, in the heart of the watch making region, they have been in business since 1868.

They recently found that a number of new competitors had entered their market and Huguenin had not been able to create a clear market position to differentiate itself from the new competitors. Andreas Roth of gyselroth created a new brand that emphasised the craftsmanship of creating bespoke metal items. They repositioned Huguenin as a brand leader in a high end market around the claim “Sentiments sculptés en Métaux précieux” – “feelings carved in precious metals”.


The new logo is an expression of craftsmanship and elegance.

To do this, they needed a typographic logo that embodied luxury and quality. Dalton Maag worked with gyselroth and Huguenin to find the best typographic expression of the values that Huguenin needed to express with their new brand. The old sans serif logo suggested modernism and mass production, so it was clear that the new wordmark had to be totally different.

The new lettering had to reflect both the history of the company and the refined, high-class products being created. We designed an elegant serif font that embodied the artisan nature of Huguenin’s work and also had enough character to be the backbone of the company logo. We refined the letters so that the serifs were slightly softened, and fitted the new look of the identity to perfection.


Dalton Maag provided Huguenin with several variations of their serifed wordmark to choose from.

The wordmark that we created is bold enough to carry the Huguenin brand, but sufficiently understated that it doesn’t detract from the images used alongside it. It is a reflection of the ideas behind the company’s new position in their market and fits superbly with the tone of the publicity it supports.

Following the successful deployment of the new identity, gyselroth won a Rebrand 100 Award for their work on the identity, and was a finalist for the World Luxury Awards in the Branding and Visual category.


The logo works well typographically alongside the new visual expression of the brand.


The wordmark complements the brand imagery without detracting from it.


Introduction to Chinese Typography: Hanzi

Chinese = Hanzi?


An overview of language distribution across China.

China is a truly multi-ethnic country – the 1.4 billion people incorporate 56 ethnic groups. While Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchurian and several minority ethnic groups have got their own writing system, the Han Chinese make up over 91% of the population. As a result Hanzi, the written language of the Han people, has naturally come to be the dominant spoken language. It is the country’s official written language, and always regarded as the ‘Chinese language’. We will limit the context of our discussion of Hanzi to China, rather than also discussing Kanji in Japan and Hanja in Korea, because Hanzi has unique usages in those respective countries.

Hanzi’s Logographic Nature


A comparison between Ancient Egyptian script (consonant based) and Chinese oracle bone script (syllable based), both are logographic writing systems.

As the art and technique of arranging specified type and text carries ideas and thought, it is always good to know how a visual language works to our eyes – there is no exception for Chinese typography – particularly as the script is completely different from a Syllabary script in the West.

Hanzi is an ancient written language – the first Hanzi could be found on a piece of carbonised pottery buried in Dahankou, China, dating back to 4,000 years ago.


Historians believe ‘旦’ is the very first Hanzi.

The letterform is so interesting that one could literally see a combination of ‘Sun’, ‘Cloud’ and ‘Mountains’ with five apexes, a scene of the sun rising. This logo-like structured drawing, possibly formed the very first Hanzi in history – ‘旦’ – a character that means ‘Born’. This drawing has explained well how the Chinese ancestors chose to form their visual language by combining symbols.

From the Shang dynasty’s oracle bone script, through Qin’s seal script, to Han’s seal script and Tang’s kaishu, the written form of Hanzi kept evolving and being rationalised throughout history. This was because there was continual need to improve writing speed, however its logographic, and squarish nature has never changed. One of the greatest Chinese calligraphers, Ou Yang Xun of the Tang Dynasty, was rumoured to have invented the famous three by three Chinese calligraphic grid. This is a guiding system for measuring and standardising character structure, letter-spacing, and rhythm. Since then, ‘ideographic’, and ‘squarish’ have become the letterform nature of Hanzi, so much so that the Chinese people continue to write on square grid paper right up to today.


How Hanzi is written on grid paper. (Image: drwilliams@Xanga)

How Chinese Typography Works

The Irish-born American missionary, William Gamble, who worked for the American Presbyterian Mission, invented the first Chinese metal type and sizing system through the electrotype method in Shanghai in the late 19th century. He adapted the variable width typesetting system of the West, into an ideographic-width system which fit into the Chinese script’s squarish nature. He designed the first ever metal type Song-ti ( ‘Serif-font’ in Chinese) in history.


How Chinese type fits into a CJK typesetting grid in InDesign Chinese. (Font used: DF LiSong Medium)

The technology was then passed to Japan, beginning the squarish nature of Chinese, Japanese and Korean type today. The picture shown here is the typesetting grid that could be found in the Chinese version of InDesign, the Chinese text and punctuation are all, ideally, fitted into type-squares. Characters are read one by one, and reading speed mostly depends upon a readers’ reading experience.

Julius Hui

Next post:
Basic Setting of Chinese Type


William Gamble, a missionary for the American Presbyterian Mission, invented the first Chinese metal type system and used it for publishing the Bible in the late 19th century.

Early Brochure – Practice Journal 1

Hi, Tim here. I have been routing around in the Archive again and managed to dig out some more of our earlier publicity work. This is one of two practice journals that were produced to show off our custom font projects. Featured projects include fonts for Telewest and BMW Mini.

The Brochure was designed by Mode and released in 2002. If you like this then check out our first ever piece of printed publicity here.

HP Simplify with New Font

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One of the projects we began work on last year was a new font for the multinational information technology company Hewlett Packard. They had been working with design agency Siegel+Gale to create a brand new identity, and a key part of Siegel+Gale’s vision for HP’s brand refresh was a new font to be the bedrock of that identity. The font had to be something that would make HP stand out from the crowd and be truly unique to them.

Dalton Maag’s designers wanted to come up with a strong aesthetic for this font, but functionality had to go hand in hand with design. HP is a global company and the font would be used by all of their regional offices on screen, in user interfaces, in print, and as part of their advertising strategy. We had to make our approach to this font as simple as possible so that implementation on such a large scale was simple too. To reflect this, we called the new font family HP Simplified.

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We gave the font a condensed feel, a generous x height, and added bowed diagonals to create a more interesting and spirited look. The addition of slightly rounded terminals softened the letterforms and contributed to its individuality. Several of the letters were given a characteristic structure which added to the strong personality of the font but did not detract from the overall readability. For example, the W was designed with a lowered middle apex, whereas the g, p and q were given an unusual extended stroke feature at their top. However, the majority of the letter forms stuck to familiar shapes, projecting openness and honesty with their humanist style letterforms.

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We produced the font in three weights: Light, Regular and Bold, and created italics for each weight. This gives our clients a wide, but consistent, range of tools to use when deploying their brand strategy. The font is also hand hinted to aid legibility, which is especially important at small sizes, where the placement of each individual pixel can make a huge difference to the appearance of the font.

The font conveys the inherent values of the HP brand and will be an aid to brand recognition everywhere that it is used. We’re now working on adding more scripts to the font to give HP even more flexibility on where and how they use their new font in an international marketplace.