CHARACTER BY CHARACTER
Bruno Maag provides an overview of Dalton Maag’s creative process, from brief through to execution
For custom font development we follow a five-stage template, which consists of: research, ideation, conception, refinement, and execution.
Before doing any drawing work it is important to understand in depth the client’s thinking, aspirations and hopes and fears. We engaged with stakeholders from across the organisation to discuss their needs and requirements. With all the information gathered we were able to clarify the brief and begin the design process with ideation and design concepts.
We presented seven ideation routes from which they selected three to proceed to the conception stage, which were then reduced to two to be taken to a basic character set. These designs were rigorously tested on predominantly digital platforms, at that point, across the BBC’s estate.
A particularly interesting outcome of this stage of the process was the active decision to develop an uppercase ‘Q’ with a non-descending tail. This is a distinctive design feature of BBC Reith Sans, but it’s also functional as it helps to avoid capitals clashing vertically in news tickers where line heights are compromised.
We were asked by the BBC to explore the possibilities of introducing friendlier, more accessible features to the humanist design – and also to tone down the playfulness of the grotesque design.
Working with accessibility at the BBC, we introduced a single storey ‘g’ and the spurless feature found on the ‘b’ and ‘q’. We also made the decision to regularise some of the capital proportions and reduce the closing-up effect and flaring of the terminals.