A family of bespoke fonts, packed with personality and inspired by Ocado’s swirly logo, became the focal point for an appetising rebrand.
Ocado describes itself as ‘the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer’. It has no physical stores and delivers goods directly from its highly automated warehouses. After a 10-year supply and branding deal with Waitrose ended, Ocado began a 50/50 joint venture with Marks & Spencer instead. The time felt right for a strong rebrand.
F37 Foundry was commissioned by creative design and branding studio Jones Knowles Ritchie to design a bespoke font, which was to become a key part of the overall Ocado rebrand.
“The brief was to create one typeface that allowed us to express ourselves at different volumes while delivering good legibility in tight digital spaces. F37 Foundry, inspired by our distinctive swirl brandmark, has given us a typeface that works its socks off yet has a lovely twinkle in its eye. ”
Michael Storey — Head of Creative & Branding, Ocado Retail Group
All custom type needs a small creative spark, an idea that can be carried through from A–Z. In this instance, the spark was Ocado’s logo, which features a distinctive swirl. This was echoed throughout the font in various descenders, shoulders and terminals of the letterforms. Inspiration was taken from calligraphy to give the font a warm, human feel.
The client was particularly vocal about bringing out some character in the numbers (which are used widely for pricing) and also called for an ‘amazing ampersand’. The spaced uppercase letters that appear on the bulk of Ocado’s packaging needed to be distinctive too, and this was achieved through small but telling details such as the kick on the R and the low crossbar on the A.
The key was finding the right level of character and integrity. Given that Ocado is primarily a digital brand, the design needed to be rational and hard-working, but still interesting and expressive.
We created a complementary family of Light, Regular, Bold and Condensed fonts for this project. The condensed font was particularly important in terms of efficient use of space. This comes into its own for smaller text on the back of packaging and legal copy in ads, as well as for numerals, as they can be set in larger sizes for pricing roundels.
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