In 2005 Vodafone updated their corporate identity with a new wordmark, refined symbol and a clear communication strategy that was primarily reliant on typography. Although it was already a giant in mobile telecommunications, Vodafone faced an increasingly competitive market both from local and foreign providers, in the UK and abroad. A fresh and coherent international campaign would consolidate Vodafone's international interests and improve their market share.
In the past, Vodafone relied entirely on Helvetica Neue Condensed for all of its typography. The new identity system allowed for a broader range of styles – Light, Regular, Bold and Extra Bold. London branding agency The Brand Union chose Dalton Maag’s InterFace font family as a basis to establish the core typographic expression. However, considerable modifications were applied to the typeface to make it unique to Vodafone, and the fonts were also expanded to include Greek Monotonic and Cyrillic scripts to support Vodafone’s international needs.
Working closely with The Brand Union’s design team we established the extent of the modifications. Although the basic structure is still clearly reminiscent of InterFace, the final design is unique and identifiable as Vodafone. Dalton Maag’s design team often provided the agency and the client with a number of options for individual characters, on a Regular font style. The approved and established design were then applied to the remaining weights, and expanded into Greek Monotonic and Cyrillic.
Vodafone is present in many markets, notably North Africa and India. We were later commissioned to create a Devanagari matching the core corporate fonts. The Devanagari fonts can now be widely seen across India.
All of this led to Vodafone considering the expression of their wordmark across the non-Latin reading territories that they were now doing business in. Increasingly, people are demanding that they are communicated with in their own languages, and that includes logos and wordmarks. Creating meaningful wordmarks can be especially tricky; often they are transliterated, meaning that they are phonetically translated. The way that this is achieved leaves a lot of room for interpretation in the process and is certainly not ideal.
The visual challenge is to transfer the expression of a Latin wordmark into more exotic script systems. We were able to develop wordmarks in non-Latin scripts that carried through the essential design features that gave the Vodafone font its character. It is important that a wordmark should have the same feel in all languages, so we used native readers to help us capture the core values of the brand in each of the different cultures.
Throughout the creation of the font suite and wordmarks, Bruno Maag worked closely with the Brand Union and Vodafone’s brand manager to create a unique typographic expression that forms the core of Vodafone’s brand. Today, it is applied and recognised globally.