Boden

We recently worked with Boden on a suite of handwritten fonts for their new brand identity.

Brochure

Alphabet

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Alphabet

Background

Thirty-odd years ago, Johnnie Boden gave up a high-flying City job to start his own mail order business. His first collection was showcased in a hand-drawn catalogue and featured eight menswear styles he wanted in his own wardrobe. Today the business has websites in the UK, US, Germany, and Australia and is valued at an estimated £300 million.

We were asked by Kimmy & Co to create three bespoke fonts that complemented their recent brand refresh for Boden. This took inspiration from the classic Breton stripe, which has played a significant part in the brand’s product history. Only Kimmy & Co gave it a twist … they created a series of hand-painted blue stripes that would be used in a variety of ways across the latest branding.

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Delivery

It felt right to design families of characterful handwriting fonts that picked up on the hand-painted brand stripes. This was our first foray into this specialised niche of typographic design, an exciting opportunity to try our hand at something different. And of course, the handwriting just had to be Johnnie Boden’s.

So we organised a day’s workshop at Boden’s north London HQ, where we asked Johnnie to write out various words and phrases using a regular felt-tip pen (for JB Pen), a broad felt-tip marker for (JB Marker) and a broad paint brush (for JB Brush) to create different weights of handwriting.

These were later digitised and analysed, as we pulled out some of Johnnie’s idiosyncrasies, such as more abstract double letters and occasional joins at the top of descenders. We kept the baseline bouncy, to capture the rhythm and the outlines distressed to mimic the lovely imperfections of writing instruments.

All three fonts, but especially JB Pen, are loaded with clever OpenType® code to create the natural, seamless feel of handwriting, randomly using different versions of the same letter to keep the script from looking too uniform.

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