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Although I am not a graphic designer, I often end up referring to design branding materials for various reasons. In my experience, many brand guideline documents have a Fonts section, which specifies which fonts should be used to remain on-brand. This list usually includes two or three fonts, and the font which is used for the logo. However, there is usually a comment alongside the logo font saying that it should be used only for the logo, and not for other branding items.

I believe that this is fairly common - I can't think of any brands that do use their logo fonts elsewhere. It seems fairly sensible, but arguably, the logo typeface could be used elsewhere to "continue" the brand. I'd like to know: what is the formal reasoning behind this decision?

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    I think it also depends how stylistic the font used is – Zach Saucier Dec 7 '15 at 13:59
  • This certainly doesn't apply to the London Underground, whose New Johnston font is now used for everything to do with local government in London. But abstract or stylistic fonts would certainly cause issues when appearing in text. Some examples in the question would be useful. – Andrew Leach Dec 7 '15 at 15:02
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There's no hard rule to this. There are plenty of examples of brands that don't adhere to this. 3M comes to mind where their logo is based on Helvetica, which is also one of their corporate typefaces.

The reasons to consider making it a 'rule' could include:

  • preventing the logo brand from being 'watered down' by over-use of the typeface elsewhere.
  • avoiding confusion if it's just a logo type (ie, the logo is predominantly type without a symbol/image)
  • allowing it to contrast with the corporate typeface, allowing both the logo and typeface to stand on their own
  • ^ all that. Keep it special. There's also a good chance that your design isn't very good if the mark is text you could just type out with a font. Very few typefaces are optimized to make your combination of letters look as special as they should. – plainclothes Dec 7 '15 at 20:39

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