Introducing Office Fonts from H&Co
You know this company: their logo’s in Gotham, their website’s in Gotham, there’s Gotham in their outdoor advertising and their television spots. There’s Gotham in the window of every branch, and inside, Gotham on the in-store displays and the printed brochures. And then the estimate you’re given from their sales associate will be in Arial, your sign-up contract in Times Roman, and your next two years of monthly statements in something someone picked at the lettershop.
I’m a big proponent of understanding contexts and designing within them. For better or worse, one of the most common contexts I’ve worked in over the past few years has been Microsoft Office. Adobe’s Creative Suite is for designers what MS Office is for the rest of the working world. We know it. We see it. Why do designers work as though we’re oblivious to that fact? Why do we make intricate layouts for presentations in InDesign when time and time again our clients ask how they can edit it in PowerPoint?
In many ways, this discrepancy between the design of a piece and the capabilities of its underlying engine (CMS, layout software, tool) is reminiscent of the early days of web design. How many times have you designed a web page in Photoshop only to find out it can’t be done in HTML/CSS? Maybe designers don’t need to know how to code production-quality websites, but they should know what’s within the realm of possibilities. Same goes for everyday business software.
A designer’s skillset does not equal their toolset. The best designers do not rely on any single tool. They adapt according to the needs of the situation at hand. And they do that by first understanding context and defining requirements.