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The Font That’s Taking Over The World

What do Apple, Chevron, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Walmart, and Wells Fargo have in common? Besides being billion dollar companies that influence our lives on a daily basis, each one has used the same typeface for its marketing and/or brand identity! The font in question is called Myriad, and it is, in fact, taking over the world.

Myriad was designed for Adobe Systems in the early ‘90s by designers who intended to make it as generic as possible. They even nicknamed it “Generica” as they developed it. However, the impact that the friendly-yet-modern, versatile sanserif font has made on the worlds of typography and branding has been anything but generic. It’s now one of the most vital typefaces in existence, as evidenced by its favored status with the world’s top brands.

Most notably, Myriad has been Apple’s corporate typeface since 2002, and now figures prominently in the ubiquitous ads for the company’s slate of products, as well as in the simple yet famous logotypes for iPod, iPhone, and all the other iThings. Myriad is also used in the current logos for retail behemoth Walmart and oil giant Chevron, which are ranked first and third respectively on the current Fortune 500 list. The Internet seems to be the next frontier Myriad is poised to conquer—last August, Adobe made it available as an embeddable font for the web.

To recap, Myriad makes up the logos of two of the three largest corporations in America, and is also used prominently by the cultural lightning rod that is Apple—so it’s safe to say that the typeface has made an impact. But since it’s highly unlikely that you love fonts as much as I do, you’re probably still asking: Why should I care?

The point is that Apple, Chevron, and Walmart (as well as all the other companies I mentioned that use Myriad) all have highly dissimilar brands. This is true for both the concepts they intend to convey to their audiences and for the way they come across visually. This goes to show that logo and branding design involves much more to consider than simply font choices—as I’ve discussed, even companies that use the exact same corporate typeface can still create highly dissimilar brands, both visually and otherwise.

Visual branding is an art/science that’s more complex than it may seem, and it’s evolving constantly, but sometimes a versatile font can become transcendent, like Myriad has on its current path to world domination.