It isn’t adored by fairly as many younger followers as different riders of the present geo-sans wave — typefaces like GT Walsheim, LL Brown, and LL Circular — however FF Mark is likely one of the extra fashionable releases of the final three years, and it’s selecting up steam. You see it in industries from tech to editorial, in print and on the net. As a plain, clear sans with a average x-height it really works fairly effectively in most of those environments, but it’s usually referred to as to do jobs it’s probably not meant to do: particularly pages full of light body copy the place the design’s uniform stroke and letter widths paint a reasonably drab monotone.
This major redesign for Mastercard, nevertheless, is strictly the sort of mission FF Mark was educated for. Pentagram started by refocusing on the long-lasting interlocking image, now almost 50 years previous, properly clearing it of its litter and transferring the identify to the aspect or beneath. The brand new round typeface clearly echoes the image’s geometry, however it’s not nearly circles: FF Mark’s different traits match effectively too — its broad stance, open varieties (‘s’ and ‘c’), the roundness of the ‘m’ arches and ‘t’ tail.
This redesign will not be a lot a revolution for Mastercard as a callback to the perfect emblem of the model’s previous. In 1979, “MasterCard” was set in ITC Avant Garde Gothic, stamped boldly over the middle of the circles. This was changed in 1990 by an ill-advised italic which was later suffering from a drop shadow in typical ’90s vogue. Going again to a geometrical sans serif is a no brainer, however Avant Garde is reasonably chilly and closed. Switching to all-lowercase FF Mark refreshes the banal company presentation with a extra approachable air.
As we will anticipate from an skilled agency like Pentagram, the emblem and kind harmonize naturally. The designers resist the urge to rationalize the geometry by way of some contrived construction grid. And all of the work is thoughtfullly carried out in a wide range of environments the place bite-size chunks of sort mix with massive photos and the overlapping circle motif.
These teaser photos for the brand new identification got here out fairly properly. It’s strong work. Not thrilling, however as contemporary a glance as you may anticipate from a multinational cost community. The query stays, nevertheless: Will FF Mark be the one a part of the typographic palette for this new identification? Will or not it’s used to set lengthy passages of textual content? Will or not it’s pushed past its objective? We’ll have to attend for the reply as a result of the redesign was simply introduced immediately. (Mastercard.com remains to be set in Accord Alternate, a 2010 face that already feels dated, maybe as a result of it piggybacks on the well-worn spurless idea from 20 years ago.)
I hope this teaser video will not be a sign of FF Mark’s meant position, as a result of a few of these screens make all the commonest geo-sans errors: a light-weight weight, spaced method too tightly, for all the textual content on the web page. A monetary providers firm striving for readability and ease ought to take the readability of mundane information as critically as its emblem.
At its core, it is a robust mark, returning Mastercard to its former glory, by emphasizing not the identify, however the image: a few unmistakable dots that shine your approach to a store door, even from throughout the road.