Logo font for Mail.ru

Mail Logo Sans for Mail.ru Group

Mail.ru is a large Russian Internet portal that combines a mail service, a search engine, a cloud service, instant messengers, and several dozen other services.

In 2018, the company presented the concept of its new corporate identity and gradually began to implement it. The main change was to replace their logo with a new one.

Image from the new Mail.ru Group brand book*

But this was only the beginning, they had to change the logos of all their many services, which was problematic since all the letters were separate vector objects.

Pictures with a list of services and their new inscriptions

At that moment, mail.ru contacted us with the following task — they had a fairly large number of drawn characters that needed to be assembled into a font file, and to suggest corrections to the graphics of characters, complete the missing lowercase letters, numbers, punctuation marks and symbols.

Initially, the task seemed extremely technical and not difficult, but a year and a half of work on it suggest otherwise.

The project had one peculiarity — the client needed not just a harmoniously looking font, but a font for typing logos. And it left its mark on the final graphics of the signs. It was important that any typed logo would look like a single well-matched block.

This influenced the heights of the descenders and ascenders in the characters - they had to be kept as short as possible, as the font graphics and common sense would allow. At some point, we even considered an option with different heights of round ("g") and straight ("p", "q") descenders, but ended up abandoning this idea. In addition, it was important for the client that the ascender in the “t” was equal to such elements in the rest of the letters, in order to emphasize the “brick” of the logo.

Testing of different heights of ascenders and descenders

For the same reason, all lowercase characters had to be placed clearly on the baseline and have the same height. This means that we did not have a space for maneuver in “g” and “b”, where the ovals are usually drawn a little smaller than in the other characters. Taking into account the limitation on the height of the ascenders and descenders, the task turned out to be extremely difficult. We tried more than one solution before we came to the final version.

Several prototypes and the final version

Another important condition was that the font had to look good in large sizes and remain visually as geometric as possible. Therefore, any optical compensation that is usually applied in fonts had to be done very sparingly.

The graphics of the original characters that were provided to us have also undergone changes. At some point, the client realized that the current font graphics were not quite what was needed. And so, we reviewed it. As it turned out, this was just what was needed and after that the work entered the home stretch.

Changing the font graphics

When the image of the main characters was agreed upon, we started looking for the forms of figures and signs.

Finding optimal graphics for figures and the & sign

In addition to the graphics, we also worked on the technical aspects. For example, we added a contextual alternative for “j” so that this character would not overlap with the others. This was relevant, since the letter spacing in the font is quite dense.

Alternative form of letter j

Another contextual alternative is that when typing the combination of @ mail.ru characters, the spacebar changes its width so that you end up with the logo in its original form.

An example of how the contextual alternative feature works

At the final stage, kerning was done in the font so that the letters would fit perfectly together in the logos. In addition, we finalized the font info and conducted a general technical review of the font file.

Complete font character composition

As a result, we got a font based on the mail.ru logo, with which the client types the logos of all their services, and also uses it in the design of communication materials and events.

Examples of using the font*

All in all, the project has taken us 19 months to complete. In this time, we made 14 iterations and created 2 versions of the complete font. The font has a total of 108 characters and there were 7 people involved in the project.

* the article uses images from the Mail Group brand book, and from Дизайн в Mail.ru Group Facebook community.

Friends, our website uses cookies. This allows us to improve your experience with our site; in addition, we share this information with our marketing partners. If you continue using our site it will mean that you agree with this. All details can be found in our Cookie only, User agreementy, Privacy policy.