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.


  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!

  8. Well, I don’t think that the ad cam­paign is effec­tive. I don’t see any unique­ness in it.

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