For GSK Precision, a functional type element (the ink trap) doubles up as an aesthetic feature.
Today, GSK is a different company from the GlaxoSmithKline that launched in 2000, and the global context around it has shifted radically. Following the proposed demerger of its consumer healthcare business, GSK will focus purely on biopharma, with a new purpose to unite science, technology and talent to get ahead of disease together.
To signal the biggest corporate change at GSK for 20 years, we were commissioned by brand heavyweights Wolff Olins to help redesign GSK’s font, one that is highly accessible and brings to life the precision of the work they do. This update along with the wider branding reflects a GSK focused on driving innovation in the field of biopharma, with new ambitions for patients, shareholders and GSK people.
We started out by tweaking and tidying the new Wolff Olins-designed GSK logo. This gave us clues and ideas as to how we might go about creating a functional yet distinctive sans font for GSK.
Using F37 Jan as a starting point, we began incorporating shapes and quirks from the logo into the font and exploring fluid connections and movement. This led us to incorporate exaggerated ink traps to add dynamic character within the letterforms at larger sizes (notably the K).
These ink traps have a duel function also aiding with legibility at smaller sizes. We did this by allowing more white into stroke-dense characters. These stroke-dense parts of characters often appear darker at small sizes due to limited pixels at low resolution or ink bleed in print.
The GSK Precision font has eight siblings — Thin, Thin Italic, Light, Light Italic, Regular, Regular Italic, Bold and Bold Italic. It is suitable for everything from hoardings, to phone screens, to medical packaging.