Between March 19th to 25th, Brazilian typophiles were lucky to experience the biggest type event in all Brazilian history. TPC10 was a celebration of the 10 years of Tipocracia – an educational project, headed by Henrique Nardi, that travels throughout Brazil promoting the typographic culture with lectures and workshops.
The audience was practically breathing type with a total of 19 guests, coming from Argentina to The Hague, in a series of talks, panels and workshops. My colleague, Fernando, and I were invited to talk about the new corporate typeface we designed for Petrobras, the largest company in Brazil. It was a real pleasure to shed light on such an important project, and take the audience through its development step by step, which answered a very complex briefing.
Over the nights, there were Type&Beer sessions, encouraged by Tony De Marco and myself. These were to alleviate the information overload of the day and test the guests’ calligraphic abilities after several beers and cachaça bottles.
I began my interest in type almost at the same time that the Tipocracia project came to life, and I can guarantee that the hard work that Henrique Nardi has put into this has had a tremendous impact on forming the typographic culture we have here today. More than an event for the community, TPC10 was a real celebration of Tipocracia’s proposition: happy anniversary!
Petrobras is one of the largest energy companies in the world, with a presence in 28 countries. It is a household name in Brazil with more than 7,000 petrol stations across the country. All this made designing a font for them an exciting but daunting undertaking.
Dalton Maag were approached by The LED Project, based in São Paulo, who asked us to help them with the typography for a new approach to the Petrobras identity. We began by looking at the requirements for the font. It had to be legible and accessible for everyone who would come into contact with it, from the person seeing it at the petrol pump, to the employees who would use it within Petrobras. It would be needed for typesetting in a variety of situations so several styles were included in our initial specification, Light, Regular, Bold, Extrabold and italics. It also had to be unique, but stand the test of time and remain contemporary in years to come. This was a lot to pack into one font family.
We wanted to evoke a sense of professionalism in the brand, but we also had to give the font a modern and international feel, to convey the personality of the Petrobras brand. We created a total of 40 concepts, working as a team with designers in Brazil and London, before getting together with the LED Project to narrow this down to the 6 most appropriate solutions. Our clients then selected two of these designs which we refined further until we arrived upon what became Petrobras Sans.
Petrobras Sans is a confident sans serif typeface with a firm construction that suggests the solidity of a multinational business, whilst including a softer human side. The terminals taper smoothly to create a more organic feel to the letter forms, which also adds individuality to the design. We created this difficult and interesting balance to reflect the human talent which is one of the key aspect behind the success of the company. Even with this great design we had to make sure that the font was easy to be read, so we used the classic principles of typography and made sure that every letter was legible even in the smallest sizes. However, the character of the font comes through at its best when it is used at large sizes.
Petrobras Sans is now being implemented by Petrobras to express their brand around the world.
Olá from Brazil. I’m Fabio Haag, Creative Director for the Dalton Maag Brazil office.
Brazil is now an expanding market for graphic and type design, and one which we’re very excited to be part of. Over the last few months we’ve been involved in some amazing Brazilian projects and been able to show that high quality type design is an important element in branding in South America. As much as we enjoy keeping our heads down and drawing letters, it’s also very rewarding to get out of the office and meet people to talk about type, life and caipirinhas.
Bruno and I recently did some travelling around Brazil, giving a number of different talks, open and private, formal and some very informal ones. In Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro, Bruno and I talked about how we can collaborate with graphic designers to achieve projects with higher typographic standards. Whilst in São Paulo, Bruno spoke about Nokia Pure, one of the most ambitious type design projects in recent history, and the challenges of creating a unified type design spanning 15 scripts.
The feedback that we got from these talks was overwhelmingly positive, and we were very impressed by the enthusiasm of our audiences. It was a real pleasure to be able to reach out to our friends in Porto Alegre, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and we want to thank ApDesign, ESPM, ADG and ESDI for their support in making this possible.
Stepping outside the office is a good exercise in shifting focus away from the day to day management of individual projects, to seeing the bigger picture. We are very happy with our success in Brazil and plans for an even bigger presence here are now on the horizon.