Tag Archives: modification

TransGourmet Focus on Foco

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Towards the end of 2013 we produced a modification of Foco for TransGourmet as well as some logo modifications. Bruno, Alex and Eleni talked to us about why TransGourmet chose Foco and the modification process.

Why did TransGourmet decide to modify Foco? What was it about the font that they liked?

Bruno: TransGourmet is Europe’s second largest Cash and Carry food service enterprise. It has a presence with large retail outlets in Switzerland, Germany, France, Poland, Romania and Russia. The outlets are customer facing and accordingly, it needs to have a friendly and approachable feel. Foco was chosen because it has the right blend of friendly and clean visual expression. The rounded treatment of some strokes break the corporate and impersonal feel that so many sans serif fonts have, yet as the design is deeply rooted in very traditional typographic principles it does not disrupt the functionality of what a typeface is supposed to do – to be read.

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The original version of Foco

The original version of Foco

Were there any particular brand values that they wanted the font to embody?

Bruno: Cash and Carry outlets by their nature provide good quality products at very affordable prices. The typeface needs to reflect that low price does not mean cheap. It does so by restraining the more playful elements such as the dis-jointed Q-tail, for example, or lowering the tip of the two diagonals in ‘M’ to sit on the baseline. Redesigning these elements to be a bit more traditional reduces the playfulness and expresses the solid quality values of the products.

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By modifying a few characters we were able to give Foco a serious twist.

By modifying a few characters we were able to give Foco a more traditional feel.

What modifications were made to Foco?

Alex & Eleni: We made some slight modifications in a few terminals so as to bring some forms closer to a classical interpretation like the bar in the “f” and “t” as well as removing some of the stencil features that one could find in the “k”. We were pleased to be asked to exchange the single storey “g” for a spectacle one, since usually this kind of request is the other way around. In a second stage we incorporated those changes in the Cyrillic meaning the modified font family would support more scripts that would be useful for the client’s business.

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Although subtle, when you combine all the changes TransGourmet has a font that is unique to them.

Were there any specific challenges for you in this project?

Alex & Eleni: For us it’s always a good challenge to review work from the past. We were able to define what needed to be modified to combine the client’s request together with our improved quality standards. We ended up with an outcome that would please both sides.

Working together with Facing from Zurich was a very good and straightforward collaboration as the scope of the project was well defined from the very beginning.

How did the font modification fit with the logo project?

Alex & Eleni:  The client asked us to use Foco for some sub-labels of the brand that would appear in different variations, side-by-side with the logotypes. Therefore, we had to be sure that all letters would be equally legible in small and big sizes without taking away from the personality of the logo. I think the font and logo work well together.

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The logos used some custom lettering which had to work with the Foco modification.

Aktiv Grotesk Dances into New English National Ballet Campaign

From today, Dalton Maag’s Aktiv Grotesk is being used in a brand new campaign for the English National Ballet as their new logo and font. The campaign, by creative agency The Beautiful Meme, features stunning photography of English National Ballet dancers wearing couture garments by Vivienne Westwood. The idea behind the campaign is to turn over the traditional stereotypes of ballet, and get people to look at the English National Ballet with fresh eyes.

For the logotype, we modified Aktiv Grotesk to create a unique form for the ballet company. The starting point was Aktiv Grotesk Bold, with the spacing and leading of the individual characters being refined to create the perfect typographic balance for the words “English National Ballet”. The most major modification was to replace the standard Aktiv Grotesk “g” with a new two-storey version for greater aesthetic appeal.


Aktiv Grotesk was chosen for its clean lines and modernity, which challenge the traditional images of ballet. Ben Haworth, Creative Director of The Beautiful Meme, gave us an insight into their creative process and why they decided that Aktiv Grotesk was the perfect font for this campaign.

“The decision was made quite early on to deviate from any visual preconceptions of ballet predominantly including script or baroque serif typefaces. We wanted a brand typeface that would reflect and support Tamara Rojo’s artistic vision of communicating a core truth that everyone in the Company has something to say,” said Ben

“Aktiv Grotesk seemed the perfect vehicle to profess the English National Ballet’s new bold and confident position. It’s an exquisitely drawn typeface that has the creative quirks and character to distinguish from other more clinical grotesque fonts. Its clean and contemporary feel also has a degree of neutrality which is key for future collaborative projects across a wide range of the arts to enhance the vision of the ENB being the UK’s most creative company.

“This was our second collaborative project with Dalton Maag, and once again their professionalism and creative insight was a huge benefit for a young company such as ourselves. From chatting ballet over lunch last summer, to creating a bespoke Aktiv double story ‘g’ for the logotype, it’s been a fantastic journey and an absolute pleasure.”