by Ilene Strizver
If you’ve ever gone looking “behind the scenes” in your fonts, you might have stumbled upon a wonderful surprise: a logotype. Logotypes are usually small, commonly used words – such as the, for, and, of and to – that are designed as a unit. Like ligatures, logotypes are treated as a single character by your application (and are usually accessed with one keystroke or keystroke combination). Unlike ligatures, the letters within a logotype are not necessarily connected. In fact, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the design of these useful little words.
Logotypes are most likely to be found in fonts that are decorative, highly stylized display designs. They can have creatively spaced or interconnected characters, varying baselines, irregularly sized characters, and even vertically stacked characters!
As with ligatures, logotypes can be located with keyboard layout utilities such as Key Caps, Fontek Character Chooser™, Character Palette and Character Map. When appropriately and tastefully used, logotypes can add a custom, hand-lettered look to an otherwise straightforward project. They are worth the treasure hunt!
- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.