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I work at a fairly large not-for-profit arts/cultural organization that hosts diverse activities from children's art camps to family cultural events and contemporary art/performance.

We use Trade Gothic as our in house font on almost all things and are looking to refresh the brand. Any suggestions on typefaces that would work across such a broad amount of activities and events? Does it make sense or is it proper to have to type faces that work for the children/family activities and adult/contemporary activities separately?

We've played around with Avenir in a few cases and it's worked well. Any other suggestions or experience in a case like this?

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I am curious what other people's takes are on this topic. I have found branding to be very restrictive (as it is intended to be). I suspect the big-timers have some sort of tiered system: a beer company has a strict brand, but cannot take into account every gonzo nude motocross tournament situation. –  horatio Dec 10 '13 at 17:09
    
Our problem is dealing with Our main brand that also contains multiple umbrella brands that vary widely in audience and sophistication. It's hard to find a type solution that fits them all but still has personality to stand out from the crowd a bit. Avenir Next is nice because it has so many weights and the heavy/bold versions can look fun and playful while the thin fonts can be modern and sleak. –  lustandfury Dec 10 '13 at 22:24

2 Answers 2

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A solution I have seen used is to take a display typeface family with a lot of members beyond the usual weights. The case I'm talking about uses multiple members of the Chalet Comprime family, in addition to both a classic serif and a (humanist) sans.

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Yeah we are considering a display font. What's the rule on this? Do you find something that matches closely or is very distinct from the main font. –  lustandfury Dec 10 '13 at 22:25
    
I don't think there's a hard and fast rule, but personally I'd shy away from a display typeface that resembles my main plain-text one. If they're too similar, viewers might unconsciously confuse them, making viewing less easy. –  Vincent Dec 11 '13 at 11:22

I would be fairly consistent with the fonts across the child-adult activities. If you use a reasonably recognisable font, that will work as part of "branding". Personally, I am a fan of the Chalet family as @Bakabaka pointed out, but you could restrict a "brand-font" to headings, splash etc.

Rather than using different fonts depending on age-groups, I would rather use a (slight) colour difference. Either the font itself or the background (this of course, depends on the various media you work with). This will "encode" your material, and users will pick up on it reasonably quickly. The nifty part is that in the future, this might come in handy in other aspects that is not obvious now.

Oh, and please do not go overboard with multicoloured stuff for kids with different colours for different letters... ;-)

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