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A new type of expression

Being rigid isn’t always the best way to appeal to our audience.

Sometimes, we need to bend, adapt, adjust, flex, transform, or elevate. This is true with typography as much as it is with messaging.

Let expressive type do the talking

To meet the moment—and the media—our brand’s visual language affords the ability to be a little more artistic with typography. Aside from our reliable core brand fonts, you have the option to pair fonts, incorporate an expressive typeface into your piece, or to modify a brand font in a creative way. 

But, that doesn’t mean you should go wild. 

Be purposeful about your typographic choices, use tutorials to guide you, and keep legibility and contrast top of mind no matter what.


Choose wisely

When making any design choice, you’ll want to first consider who your target audience is, what your objective is, and the medium through which your execution will reach your audience. If your execution is part of a campaign, these decisions are even more important.

For greater depth into the typographic options available and how to leverage them, you can refer to our typography main page.

Spice up the brand fonts

With a little help from you, our core brand fonts are capable of doing a lot. Manipulating brand fonts is a great way to add expression to your piece while staying true to the IU brand. With unlimited tutorials out there, there’s no shortage of ways to stylize our core fonts.

A walk through one example: Altering existing brand fonts can bring playfulness to your execution. In this example, the designer added a wave effect to Benton Sans Condensed Bold, making the piece playful, inviting, and informal.

Step 1

Set and stylize your text

Step 2

Add effects or stylizing in illustrator or Photoshop

Step 3

Put it all together cohesively with the other elements of your execution (color, graphic elements, photography, etc.)

More ways to transform brand fonts

There’s no shortage of ways to artistically treat the brand fonts. Here are a few ways we’ve manipulated Benton Sans to add emphasis and expression.

These styles are only the beginning. You can use your imagination to create new treatments of core brand fonts in a way that best helps you achieve your execution’s objective.

Outlined type

Embed your copy within your composition using outlined type.

Elemental type

Add emphasis and major style to key words or phrases.

Image or texture type

Make your message into a visual story by overlaying an image or texture.

Gradient type

Add color and vibrancy to your display type.

Ripple type

For short passages of text, ripples can add emphasis and importance.

3-dimensional type

Colorful and dimensional 3-D type allows you to take type to a whole new level

Create a mood with expressive type

Pair expressive typefaces with the core brand fonts to imbue a distinct feeling into your creative execution. Custom fonts and typefaces should be used sparingly for headings and texture, rather than for extended passages of body text. 

Limit use of expressive type to a single expressive typeface per piece.

What is considered expressive type:

  • Hand lettering
  • Non-brand typefaces

Do use expressive typefaces for:

  • Headlines
  • Subheads
  • Graphic texture

Don’t use expressive typefaces for:

  • Body copy
  • Long passages of text
  • Functional components, such as CTAs

Showing emotion with type

What is the message your type is conveying? Complement the idea you’re communicating with a typeface that helps support the tone or mood of your message. Here are a few tones that type can help visualize:


Strong lines and gritty shapes


Hand written or bespoke

Powerful and strong

Heavy weights and big presence

Welcoming and friendly

Simple yet familiar


Bold and unusual


Movement and emotion take form

More on type

When it comes to typography, consider your options.