When evaluating the lift-off thrust of any trend, success is often measured between the born-on date and the rise to critical mass. If momentum doesn’t build, you’re doomed. On the other hand, popular trends tend to burn out overnight. We find variable type on a strong pace to have an influence on logo trends for some years once we figure out how to drive them. Just this last year, more designers embraced the basic bag of tricks generally reserved for demonstrating variable type capabilities. Diminishing or contorting type in a sequence of thick to thins or squat to tall, and even animating it as such, are eye candy but probably not the use the original developers of variable type had in mind. In fairness, these fonts weren’t created just for logo designers, but we tend to gladly appropriate shiny things.
Unfortunately, the only time variable type can be identified as such is when it’s shown in contrast or motion. Amsteldok, the WPP offices in Amsterdam, have really done an astonishing job of embracing regional and historic influence for their proprietary font, and have used the variable capabilities to create a highly flexible system. That system manages to hold together admirably, but also is designed to morph and gyrate. It works without appearing to be a slavish demonstration model.
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