We use cookies to further personalise and enhance the user experience, conduct analytical research (for example, counting visits and traffic sources), place advertisements and contact third parties. Users can manage their cookie settings by clicking the "Choose your preferences" link.

Cookie policy
Published 2023-06-07

Schibsted’s new font – heritage looking ahead

The new font, Schibsted Grotesk, is a strong brand element based on Schibsted’s newspaper heritage with a digital-first twist.

Schibsted’s visual identity got an upgrade in 2019 and a digital-first update earlier this year. We found that there was a need to more clearly communicate the attractive and trusted brand that Schibsted is, which lead to a new design to strengthen our overall brand expression. Schibsted Grotesk is a significant part of that work – a typeface designed with Schibsted’s heritage and identity in mind. As Schibsted reached out to the prestigious Norwegian design agency, Bakken & Bæck, the aim was to use the font to elevate the digital identity and design system, says Bakken & Bæck’s Senior Designer Henrik Kongsvoll and continues:

“Taking visual cues from Schibsted’s proud history of printed media as well as their pioneering digital nature, Schibsted Grotesk was designed to become an active tool that empowers brand ambassadors and inspires internal and external audiences.”

Bakken & Bæck worked closely with the design team in Schibsted. It’s been a great experience for the entire team from Schibsted and a true collaboration, according to Design Lead Bjarte Misund.

“As the Schibsted family of brands grows, more users will come in contact with the Schibsted brand. As a result, it’s important for us to help the users understand the difference between Schibsted as the data controller and a service provider, as well as our brands and their value propositions. Schibsted Grotesk will be a key driver in this work and in building a unified user experience across all Schibsted-branded touchpoints.”

Why a custom font?

Finding inspiration in old newspaper fonts was the basis for Schibsted Grotesk – grotesque being a family of sans serif typefaces originating in the early 19th Century. But a major driver for making this change was also to build a digital-first, functional font that can be used to represent Schibsted in all communications.

“That’s one of the main benefits of having a custom typeface, it’s a very strong brand element that will shine through every surface of Schibsted,” says Kongsvoll and adds that there’s also a practical aspect. With a custom font, you’re able to eliminate licensing fees and you make it exceedingly easy to distribute. Especially as Schibsted Grotesk has been shared as a Google Web font, making it accessible to anyone.

The early grotesques of the 20th century influenced Schibsted Grotesk – these are some examples.

About the typeface

Schibsted Grotesk is an extensive typographic system covering over 220 languages through 496 glyphs and 12 styles. It was crafted using the OpenType variable fonts technology across four weight masters with matching italics and optimised hinting for the modern digital space, Bakken & Bæck write about the font. This means the same font can be used as a headline and copy.

“We spent a lot of time creating the regular weight to optimise it for text and specifically in digital interfaces to act as a scaled-down version of the font. Contrary to the bold version which is all personality – the bolder weights express more of the Schibsted feeling,” says Kongsvoll.

Unifying details

A stand-out element of the font is the tittle – the dot above i and j – and the period. It’s a playful nod to the dots in the Schibsted S, a unifying force which also inspired new elements like shapes, pills and a new pattern in the brand asset portfolio.

“There’s always a balance, you want some sort of uniqueness in your typeface, but there’s a spectrum between utility and uniqueness. We wanted to balance the visual quirks into the font while also being utilitarian enough for daily use,” Kongsvoll concludes.