Type and the UUA new identity

Needless to say, I have some feelings about the new UUA branding; if the traffic on Facebook’s a measure, everyone does. Not just the logo, but the branding and what that means for the UUA. But I’ve been busy at work and it seems like one of those affairs that’s better to sleep on, rather than launch into blogging. Victoria Weinstein synthesizes many threads at her Peacebang blog, however, so I won’t retrace those steps, and suggest you read “A New Logo, A New Era.”

And this is a blog that focuses on church practice and administration, so there are some resources that need to be lifted up.

I commented on Cynthia Landrum’s blog, Rev. Cyn, in a post (“An Open Letter to the UUA“) where she praises the initative and points out how hard (but essential) web development is for non-pros. She ask for nuts-and-bolts helps. I replied to the typeface part:

…I couldn’t help but notice your quandry about the very attractive Scala Sans. Very attractive and very expensive.

You can buy it here: http://www.fontshop.com/fontlist/super_families/ff_scala/

But splash out for the $509 set? I’d think not.

Open Sans, a liberally licensed (free to use) and free of charge typeface, is available for print and web, is attractive and (to my mind) close enough.


For your computer: choose the varieties your want here, and press the small down arrow button to download.



Here’s what that download button looks like. Google Fonts download button

In a follow-up comment, Cynthia Landrum asked what the font associated with the new UUA logo.

It looks like Futura, nicely spaced. Perhaps a close variant. (I know some people think Futura is cliche or passe; I am not one of them.) But I do think it gets oppressive in running text, so I wouldn’t bet on setting an order of service in it.

A professionally supplied version is much less expensive, but I’ll scout around for free-but-good-enough: we’re unlikely to use all the features a designer would anyway. And particularly a web font. If I see the new (or old) logo with Arial, I’ll probably scream.

This is where I should point out that I recently blogged about a really good typographical resource: a place for non-pros to learn the basics quickly, and to use ordinary word processing software and a reformed design sense to make better, more usable print and web documents. Do yourself a favor: get a warm drink and read this introductory part: “Typography in ten minutes.”

5 Replies to “Type and the UUA new identity”

  1. Just got my hands on the PDF of the Brand usage, and it says that Helvetica Neue is to be used in all UUA publications now. I don’t know if the logo itself is Helvetica Neue, but all accompanying text will be. It says Helvetica is also acceptable, and if neither is available, then Arial.

    Helvetica Neue is an interesting choice — I understand that it’s available free with all Mac/Apple computers/tablets/phones, as it’s the default for iOS. For us Windows and Android users, it’s not so free, sadly. Helvetica is also a font used by numerous logos and, well, just about everywhere. So it puts us in keeping with what’s in current usage, but doesn’t stand out.

    On one hand, I think it’s strange for the SSL and UUA logos and fonts and colors to all be so different, but then since I hate that SSL orange, I’m glad for this difference. Plus, the Scala Sans of SSL is more expensive than Helvetica Neue.

  2. The logo is in Futura, confirmed. I was a bit disappointed with the Helvetica Neue, as it’s so, so conservative. Disappointed, but not distressed. But Arial is just the work of the devil, and there are people who can pick it out at a hundred paces. Use it and you will hear from them.

    But where did you get the PDF?

  3. For readers, I’ve e-mailed Scott the PDF. I got it from Terasa Cooley via my Region president, and she said it was okay to share, with the caveat that the images in it are not the high resolution ones to use, but those will be posted soon.

  4. Thank you, Cynthia.

    I’ve read it and the brand guidelines and it clarifies many of the issues. A few quibbles, matters of personal taste not worth mentioning, but several pleasant suprises. A monochrome version of the logo that doesn’t provoke the much-heard visceral reaction (to me) and a color palette that I bet will prove influential.

    And an implied clarification that this is a intra-UUA, but comprehensive effort. This doesn’t parallel the British Unitarian identity standard in that sense. I look forward to the release.

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