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.