Nokia sans character

In the light of the recent replacement of the typeface we designed for Nokia in 2001/2002 (with added weights and production design by Monotype) here is a PDF I made as a first presentation of the complete family. The typeface was still under development then, and my document includes notes pointing out some of the issues.

The comparisons offered by DaltonMaag and Nokia fail to mention that there are also wide versions of Nokia Sans which would have been perfectly suitable for UI purposes and offer at least as much character as the new one. Nokia Serif doesn’t get a mention at all and was never used. Goes to show the depth of typographic knowledge at Nokia.

After 10 years it was high time to look at Nokia’s typefaces as the dominant visual voice of the brand but whoever decided on a completely new direction was either not aware of what was available or was persuaded by Bruno Maag to start over. Bruno may not create the most memorable typefaces, but he certainly knows how to sell them. And technically, their fonts are excellent. Too bad they didn’t have the confidence to work with me on an update. Instead they’re throwing out ten years’ of brand recognition in favour of blandness.

12 comments

  1. “Instead they’re throw­ing out ten years’ of brand recog­ni­tion in favour of bland­ness.”
    Clients will always behave as clients…

  2. Serg

    When I saw new nokia typeface I said to myself “This is f***ing joke.” Your typeface works perfectly even on the phone. Personally I don’t like some features (tiny stem endings), but it has balls.

  3. Your Conscience

    Sounds like you got served a bowl of sour grapes. Companies update their corporate image all the time, maybe they were just looking for a change.

  4. viraj deo

    This new Nokia typeface clearly lacks a distinctive quality of appearance (albeit they are technically advanced, as you said). I feel everything boils down to the fact that is the new typeface good enough to last next ten years (which I seriously doubt). I strongly feel your work for Nokia is simply outstanding and it still looks very much up to date even after a decade. Nokia Sans and Serif both have a voice of their own, which I feel is clearly lacking in Bruno’s work. I totally agree what you said, it definitely looks like Dalton Maag are just too good as business minds than type designers. May be they do it so they can buy their children more Christmas presents each year! :)

  5. I think the Nokia Sans has got a distinct character which one can identify with the Nokia brand. The “Pure” version clearly lacks character without adding any extra value. Even though I understand that there can be some hidden business aspects, i believe that if Nokia would have worked with you for a new version, that would’ve retained the soul of the typeface.

    I also feel the way Nokia designers use the typeface for their communication is not very appropriate at times. I just got a new battery for my age old 6300 and saw the improper use of Nokia sans Bold for the copy.

  6. Deepak

    They badly needed a reboot or something like that. Pure goes MS style(Metro is gonna come to Nokia phones soon), following Segoe. They should have opted to work with you on Nokia Sans itself. The platform seems to be still burning -sigh-

  7. Apart from the fact that I agree with you, it is definitely nice to see all of the different styles you had originally designed!

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