Where typography is heading in 2018

Typography in graphic design will be enormously important in branding this year. Again. Here’s why.

The reason typography reigns right now are largely due to UX constraints and the current trend towards responsive design, which dictates that everything must be easily scalable for different specs and platforms.


With this limitation here to stay, designers are rummaging in their bag of old-school tricks for new inspo – and they’re falling back in love with fonts.


Typography defined

Typography is the art of arranging type in design. Essential elements of strong typography include:

  • Font choice
  • Colour scheme
  • Spacing (kerning – closeness of letters – and leading – closeness of lines)
  • Hierarchy (what text is given weight and why)
  • Formatting (bold, italics and underlining)


The typeface a designer selects and how they place words in a layout is crucial to visual impact, readability and sending the right message. Designers know this. They think very long and hard about it.


User experience and typography are closely linked. Having a fantastic UX necessarily requires a pared-back design where bells and whistles are removed. Often leaving only the text to play with.


Micro-trends in typography we’ve spotted:

Geometric sans serifs (that aren’t Helvetica)

Until recently, the accepted thinking was that certain fonts are easier to digest in long blocks of copy – namely serif fonts like Times New Roman or Garamond. That’s all changed now with the rise of the new-wave Geometric Sans Serif fonts favoured by digital disruptors.


More and more well-crafted geometric sans serifs are becoming widely available. Prime examples are the ‘LL Brown’ and ‘LL Circular’ fonts used by Air BnB, and ‘FF Clan’ used by Uber.


‘There is a bold clarity and honesty to such fonts that have now been used by many large corporations to communicate the simplicity and openness that their brand team requires,’ says Lee Fasciani, founder and director of Territory Projects

Geometric Sans serif typography

Hand lettering

You can’t beat the personal touch and artisanal appeal of a hand-drawn font (or indeed a font that looks like it’s been applied with a stamp pad like the below example). Beloved by hipsters and wine-makers, they add a touch of humanity to any screen.

Hand lettering typography


Creative spacing

Rotating letters a few degrees and playing around with kerning and leading are a surprisingly effective way to communicate a brand personality. Look at these zany pig examples below. Are they not imperfectly perfect!?

Creative spacing typography


Negative space

A personal favourite of Sketch Corp, negative space type is all about leaving something out – even just one simple stroke – to create a whole new meaning.

Check out our Art Director Carolina’s logo for a new Brisbane property development. Something is missing. Or is it? Beautifully minimal and whisper-subtle. And the fact that evoke means ‘to conjure up a memory’ and you then are invited to ‘conjure up’ a ‘k’? Sublime.

Evoke Branding typography


Chaotic fonts

A close cousin of hand-drawn fonts, chaotic fonts are irregular on purpose. Letter heights and stroke widths vary wildly, imbuing any brand with a creative, free-thinking, expressive quality. Lorna Jane is a good example of a brand that uses chaoticism to great effect.

Chaotic fonts typography



Sketch Corp.







Website considerations for budding entrepreneurs

Over the years, our agency has worked with many bright-eyed entrepreneurs with BIG ideas for changing the world and making millions. Usually via an online business that disrupts industry norms.


We love these guys! Their enthusiasm is infectious.


Most of their ideas involve very BIG websites. In fact, the success of their business usually hinges on it. When planning these sorts of sites, we’ve noticed a pattern in expectation versus reality.


We wanted to warn the entrepreneur community at large before they start thinking launching ‘the next UBER’ is easy (or cheap). There are serious website considerations. 


The fact is, the simplest and most beautiful websites often have a lot of complexity going on in the back end. A gorgeously minimal, high-functioning website can belie a huge cost, often requiring a team of very talented website developers.

Based on our experience working with start-up clients on ‘big concept’ ideas, there are several ways to approach this business model.

Option 1 – minimum viable product approach

This approach involves starting small with a ‘pilot’ program and growing over time if demand and profitability are established.

  • Clients must ask themselves, what is the absolute minimum functionality a website needs to start making money? 
  • They should make a list of requirements and implement the smallest possible functional website for the least expense in a reasonable timeframe. Then go live and start making money.  


The project might roll out as follow:

  1. After a series of discussions, a website designer and developer put together ‘wireframe’ sketches. These illustrate the various screens of the system and how they link together.
  2. Client reviews these wireframes to make sure the website is exactly what they want.
  3. Designer creates Photoshop Design Files (PSDs) and manages artwork approval. At this point, no further changes can be made until the website goes live.
  4. Developer selects a stable system that will produce the desired outcome in the least amount of time.
  5. Developer implements the website as per requirements; UAT (User Acceptance Training) commences and any bugs are fixed.
  6. Website goes live and simultaneously the client starts marketing the business.
  7. The money starts coming in and the client weighs up whether the proceeds and impact warrant further investment.


If the concept proves viable, the next step is to measure how successful the website is – is it a success or a failure?


In the case that it’s a failure, at least the investment was minimal.


If it’s a success or has potential, then it’s time start making smalliterative changes to improve the website. Any changes should be driven by what the market wants or by analytics and research, not simply by what the website owner thinks would be a good idea.


The iterative changes should ideally be implemented one at a time to gauge effectiveness.

Option 1 is typically favoured by small online businesses


Option 2 – go in big and invest heavily in the business, take a huge gamble and see if it pays off

This is the large-scale investment approach modelled by brands such as Youfoodz. It requires that the client has a clear strategy for how the system is going to function and make money and how long that will take. In other words, a comprehensive business plan.

Client checklist:

  • Very large budget (i.e. upwards of $200,000)
  • Wish list of website requirements
  • Extensive market research already conducted
  • Professional software developers retained (i.e. people who have proven experience creating custom systems who can build you a very high-quality system if you pay them enough)

Website Wireframe

Here’s how this type of approach is usually rolled out:

  1. When the system is finally ready and perfect, release the website live to the public
  2. Run a large marketing campaign across multiple media streams. Social marketing, influencer endorsements, billboards, PR, TV, print, YouTube – anything to get as much traction as possible.
  3. Be prepared to shoulder big losses in the first 12 months due to massive initial outlays for development costs, advertising, sampling and incidentals – with the express goal of getting as many people using the system as possible (with an emphasis on repeat customers).
  4. Start recouping your investment and generating profit at a much later date.
  5. If the business is a big success, consider permanently employing the developers to work on the system full time.

Option 2 is favoured by larger businesses with external backing and a big budget who are prepared to take on such a big risk.


There is one last approach, which typically rolls out as follows. However, we strongly advise against going down this road:

Option 3 – one we have never seen work successfully.
  1. Start with some rough, poorly researched ideas (or occasionally some well-thought-through ideas that are ahead of their time). Don’t bother with a business plan.
  2. Copy someone else’s ideas and tweak them ever so slightly. Typically: “I want a Facebook clone, but for XYZ.” Or, “I want a Groupon clone, but for ABC.”
  3. Have a few vague requirements that the developer can’t lock down properly. (Note: developers need to know exactly what they are going to build in detail before they commence. And, there needs to be 100% agreement between client and developer on what those requirements are).
  4. Start with a certain budget and expect that that’s all you will ever have to pay, then invest that entire budget in the initial build.

    This is contrary to how web development projects actually work, particularly with custom development. The reality is that you’ll spend a large amount upfront, and then spend medium-to-large chunks again and again later down the track. 

    If you spend most of your budget in the initial build, you will likely go way over budget in the long run, or the project will fail.

  5. Get a developer to start building the system without making sure they are suitable for the job and have created similar systems before.
  6. Start seeing the system come together and then realise there are unforeseen issues you hadn’t thought of. Request expensive changes.
  7. See other ideas around and try to integrate them into your website as it is being built.
  8. Try to do too many things too quickly, particularly at the beginning of the project.
  9. Wanting the system to be absolutely perfect before you approve it for launch (the reality is that no website is ever perfect. The best websites are ever-evolving systems that improve over time. Trying to be perfect pre-launch, before you know how the target market will respond, delays the project and adds to costs).
  10. Adding features to the website simply because that’s what a competitor does.
  11. Wanting to add features because they ‘seem’ like a good idea without research or market demand to support these (what often ends up happening is that the client requests something (for example, a forum) as an extra bonus feature on the website, then the developer spends ages implementing this perfectly. Then, once the website is live, only 5 people use the forum – making it a pointless, expensive feature that should never have been there in the first place).

Option 3 just gets worse and worse.


These are some of the risks and problems that plague many projects, especially in custom development work. 

Most small business owners are unaware of these risks and potential problems going. They generally tend to make the same mistakes, which causes headaches at best and huge stress/loss of money at worst.


Remember, forewarned is forearmed.


Sketch Corp.

How to choose your marketing agency wisely

When you have a business and things are going well, there may come a time when you can no longer grow it on your own.


This is when partnering with a marketing agency starts to look like a very attractive option.


A monthly retainer or ad hoc arrangement is the perfect solution when your business is too big for appearances not to matter, but too small to have a marketing department in-house.


With so many agencies around (all looking pretty slick), it can be hard to know which marketing agency will a) deliver the strongest ROI and b) have the best chemistry with your business.


These are the 7 things we would look for if we were you:
  1. A marketing agency that practises what they preach
    Marketing is a real shape-shifter of an industry – fast paced and constantly evolving. When considering a marketing agency, make sure they’re completely across today’s best practices and methodologies.

    They should be doing everything they say you should do.

    For example, if you want to turn your Instagram feed into a lead-generating tool that showcases your work or compels followers to buy your products, look for an agency with a killer Instagram account.

    Similarly, if your agency tells you to continually put out awesome content but they rarely blog or post anything themselves, how will they do it for you?At a bare minimum, any marketing agency contenders should have a mobile-responsive site that is optimised for SEO, and a strong presence on social media.

  2. Someone who stands up to due diligence.
    We read recently that in 2008 (pre-GFC) a well-known London banker narrowly escaped investing a fortune in Bernie Madoff’s doomed Ponzi scheme.

    In seduction mode, Madoff had tried to dazzle this guy by inviting him out on his lavish yacht and buddying up to him.

    When the banker demurred and insisted on doing his due diligence first, Bernie backed off quickly. He was arrested not long after.

    The moral of the story is that anyone can talk a big game, but a proven track record of achievement is more important.  The more you can uncover about the experience of past clients, the better.

    Any marketing agency worth their salt should be proud to provide you with recent case studies, analytics reports from previous campaigns, and other metrics that give credence to the claims they make.

  3. A marketing agency with the right mix of skills
    What is it that you can’t do that you’re hoping your agency can? Design, copy, web, social advertising? Not all marketing agencies are ‘full service’, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, it’s hard for companies to be good at everything!

    For example, if no one on your team is a ‘comfortable’ writer, then selecting an agency with strong copy skills is essential.

    The same applies with digital advertising, which is a very niche skill nowadays.If you’re investing $ on digital advertising (i.e. Google AdWords), look for a marketing agency that’s all over this discipline – and has the stats to prove it.

  4. Similar approaches to getting things done
    How often do last-minute, unexpected tasks pop up in your business? If the answer is ‘all the time’, a nimbler, more flexible marketing agency may be right for you. One that can quickly roll with the punches.

    The beauty of working with a small, responsive team is they can quickly immerse themselves in your business and work with you closely.

    In our experience, it’s much easier to deploy a small team to come to your office for briefs and brainstorms than trying to mobilise a large one.

    If, however, your business has a very structured way of doing things and a long-term strategy in place where everything’s well organised in advance, a bigger agency might be a better fit.

  5. Someone who gets your target market
    A good marketing agency will quickly identify what channels are best suited to your objectives and your audience.

    If your audience is young, they’re probably frolicking on the ‘younger’ socials – i.e. Snapchat and Instagram – and following various influencers.

    If this is the case for your business, your best fit will be a marketing agency that can demonstrate proven results for clients on these channels.

  6. Similar communication styles
    Transparent, timely communication is the foundation of any healthy business relationship. Your marketing agency shouldn’t leave you hanging for weeks and you should be able to at least get them on the phone when you want to (within reason).

    We’re not saying you have to be on the phone every day with your agency, but we strongly believe in keeping the lines of communication open. Mainly to ensure that campaigns are rolled out properly and deadlines are met.

    When you are considering marketing agencies, be wary of the ones that do not get back to you in a reasonable time frame or did not provide a customised response.

    If you’re the type of person who needs following up, think about whether the account manager has the experience and organisational skills to handle that.marketing agency partnership

  7. Similar values
    As with all great relationships, you don’t have to have everything in common… just the important things. Sounds lofty, but it’s so crucial that your company values are in sync with the marketing agency you choose. After all, it’s a partnership.

    For instance, if your business is big on CSR and giving back, seek out an agency that believes in those things too. If you value honesty and transparency, don’t choose an agency that adopts a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. If you don’t know what the agency’s values are, just ask them!

-Sketch Corp.