One of the things Nokia UI design has been picked upon is the font (typeface really, but we’ll refer to it as font). It’s is such an important part of the total user experience, but since it’s so subtle it’s so often overlooked how much impact it has.
The font can’t be just any font as long as it’s readable. You can’t just stick with a font because it’s recognizable. Maybe that’s ok for the brand logo – but not the default font for reading messages, viewing pages, UI buttons/titles etc. Why? The font conveys its own message.
Nokia Sans is narrow, sharp, and looks perfect for narrow, small screens with limited pixels – harking back the days of old, so making the UI seem older. Same thing with icons. Similarities with S^1 just made US bloggers feel S^3 is just the same. We conducted a poll in which our readers at the time agreed there should be a change in the fonts AND icons. We got really excited when we got a glimpse of some S^4 screenshots NOT in Nokia Sans but Verdana. It looked so much better. When I changed the fonts on my N8, it looked so much better (unfortunately it prevented Ovi Store from working)
Fonts was also one of the topics I had asked Nokia VP of Eseries, Ilari Nurmi during the Eseries Q&A:
I also asked about the Nokia Font (if they liked it), if they had thought about changing it as it does make a surprising difference to the overall appearance, if ever so subtly. That topic was something of a surprise for them and something not even considered. Apparently all documents at Nokia HQ are in this Nokia Sans. Whilst I know there’s several much bigger issues – attention to detail is also important.
So without further ado, Nokia are apparently introducing a NEW corporate font that will launch across all devices. It is called “Nokia Pure”, and it was created by typographers Dalton Maag. I’m not sure if this change in font is related to the Microsoft Partnership (as font plays SUCH A BIG PART of the Metro UI Windows Phone experience, as it is also with Palm Pre – just to add on importance of font choice). It may have been part of an intended internal change all along, it’s just that it’s the first time we’ve heard of it.
Aapo Bovellan, Studio Nokia’s director of brand and marketing says,
“Nokia Pure is a celebration of our Finnish design heritage. We wanted to give it a natural, flowing form, while creating something that is highly functional and neutral. Nokia Pure has a clarity of purpose and as little design as possible. It’s made to celebrate human creativity.’”
Font’s must be functional but they must also convey the correct message through the right design. For a phone, they must be easily readable, scalable for small screen and zooming, but not occupy too much room. Yet it must also have rounder, more modern looking curves (at least in comparison to Nokia Sans), something that fits within the expectations of today.
The font had it’s own Exhibition yesterday (24th March) called, the “Nokia Pure Exhibition” with artists sponsored to come up with posters using the new typeface.
The exhibition is the collaboration of D&AD, Nokia and Finlandia vodka. The posters will be sold at the exhibition and online to raise money for the British Dyslexia Association.
Here are some of those designs. Please check out the post by Design Week for descriptions.
Cheers to Robin for the heads up.