• Transform magazine
  • August 22, 2017

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YouTube releases new typeface to coincide with live streaming offering

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American video sharing company, YouTube, has released its own typeface, YouTube Sans, inspired by the brand’s widely-recognised play button. The launch comes as the company announces the arrival of YouTube TV, its own paid-monthly live TV streaming service. The font, designed to showcase YouTube’s expressive qualities, marks an upsurge in own-brand letterforms. Harnessing typography in its own way, the release also features a refined play button glyph, allowing for the brand icon to be typed as a symbol.

Undertaking the project, global design agency and brand consultants, Saffron, developed the typeface in collaboration with YouTube’s UX team, with the aim of reinforcing the brand aesthetic and bringing to life the distinctive, user-friendly features inherent to the video sharing platform. In addition, YouTube’s well-known play button was redrawn to perfect its curved, angular shape in line with the new sans-serif typeface.  

Yet the resurgence of sans-serif as a principle typeface has complimented a reinvigoration of numerous brand identities in recent times. Top flight companies such as eBay, Lloyds, Yahoo and most recently Google, have all departed from traditional serif typefaces to adopt the minimalism of clean, bold and distinctive sans. Yet YouTube’s own typeface takes its brand offering one step further, following a recent trend that has seen many brands expand on the principles of a core aesthetic that aligns user-experience, wider social integration and brand portfolios together.

Similarly, last month saw Dubai become the first city in the world to create its own font. In collaboration with Microsoft, the Dubai Font letterform was made available in both Arabic and Latin, affirming typographic self-expression as a key element within place branding strategy. In much the same way, international typeface designers Dalton Maag has long been a force in the industry, having been responsible for producing the unique typefaces for core technology brands such as Intel and Nokia.

YouTube Sans has made its debut in the US, with the launch of YouTube TV availability in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Chicago and Philadelphia. A full UK release of the service, and subsequent typeface is yet to be confirmed.  

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