At first glance, the idea that the creation of a new font for Wix deserves a whole lot of attention might seem almost bizarre to some of us who are non-designers and that’s understandable. After all, we don’t really expect coders, HR specialists, fraud analysts or database infrastructure engineers to give much thought to the curves, widths and lengths of the characters on their screens. They’re there, and that’s just fine, thank you very much.
We’d like to take you behind the scenes of our long and exciting (!) journey to develop our own font, and why it’s such a big deal for us.
A Font of Our Own
Helvetica, the font Wix has been using for more than 13 years, worked well: it’s classy and recognizable (all of NYC’s subway signs use Helvetica, and so do numerous famous company logos). However, around 2 years ago, our designers felt that it was time to move on and create our own font (technically, the term is typeface, but let’s not get things over complicated).
“First of all, Helvetica has its problems: it was designed more than 60 years ago for print and signage, not for online usage,” explains Lior Pinco, Operations Manager at our Design guild. “It doesn’t look great on smaller screens and in smaller sizes, and apart from that, everybody uses it. We can see that in the past decade all the big players in the tech world shifted from it to their own custom typefaces”.
“However, the most important reason we wanted to create our own typeface is that we felt that Wix and our brand have matured and evolved enough”, Pinco emphasizes. “We’ve come a long long way. We are a big name in the tech industry, and as such, we wanted to bring a new personality – a new tone of voice – that will unify Wix’s brand and product”.
The Curves That Reflect Our Values
After resolving the “why?”, our team was left with the “how?”. Ella Moscovitz, leader of the Design Dev team at our design studio, says that although Wix takes pride in doing mostly everything in-house, creating a new font felt like something that should be done with people who specialize in it.
After a survey of some of the top type-foundries around the world (design studios specializing in typeface designs), our team chose London-based Dalton Magg, and we kicked off the process to define how the new font should reflect Wix’s culture and its values. We knew that we wanted it to be distinguishable, approachable, trustworthy and professional. In other words, we wanted it to stand out and look fresh, attract our audience and inspire our users, feel human and personal, and also convey our professionalism.
Angles, Weights and Spacing
The next part of the process was the creation of a few expressive characters that showcase the major design features of the new font.
“The shoulder of the h will later create the n and the m; the p will be the base for the b, g and q; We were especially interested to learn how w and x would look like - as we tend to use the word ‘Wix’ in quite a few sentences”, explains Moscovitz.
So what does the work on a font entail? believe it or not, every single curve, dash, angle, and connections between shapes matters. We were fine tuning each and every detail, not overlooking the space and weight of each character. This whole process took about 8 months, and only then we were ready to look at special characters such as @ and *.
Every Font Needs a Name
Finally, a new creature emerged from the primordial soup, and just like a newborn baby, it needed a name.
All our designers were asked to suggest their ideas for the new font. “Meadow”, “Webby” and “CtrlAltWix”, to name a few, were among the ones considered, but one of them stood out and made perfect sense: Madefor. Not only is it easy to remember, but we believe that it simply expresses the whole rationale behind the project. “When we embarked on this journey, the goal was to create something that will be made for branding and made for UI and made for marketing materials and… You get the point”, explains Pinco.
Only then, when our font was ready (and had a name!),we gradually implemented it into Wix’s many products and websites. This was a cross company effort, involving our UI/UX, product managers, and developers. We even added this font to our Editor options, so that our users could enjoy it too! (Well, it was also Madefor them…)
And what was the best way for us to announce this new font? Well, naturally it had to do with some design :) For the launch of Madefor we created two stunning clips which were both conceived, drawn and produced in-house. Watch’em, you won’t regret it!