Brianstorm Typeface

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I take pride in my ability as a designer to figure out what works best for a client when it comes to visual language. In finding out their mission, what they are about, and how they operate, the process leads to an understanding that makes it easy for me to provide a cohesive work. However, the same doesn’t always apply when I am representing myself, as I am probably my own worst client when it comes to design.

The number one concern I always have with the work I do for myself is whether or not I feel the visual design fits me on a personal level. Inserting myself into design trends, whether I find them attractive/useful or not, rarely feels natural for me, and that is why I always end up with from-scratch methodologies. The culmination of those feelings led me to uncharted territories in the quest to develop a visual identity that was 100% me.

Prototype Brian McDonald WordmarksTop: Prototype wordmark, Bottom: Final wordmark

It started by crafting a prototype slab-serif wordmark for my name. I wanted something that had clean geometric elements while still having a bit of humanity to it. After a lot of tweaking, I actually wound up with something I really liked! I was particularly proud of the development of the A,N,M,c, and L glyphs. This success led me to ask myself “With a completed unique wordmark, why not develop an original font to also represent me?”

So began the naive quest to create a typeface, which would become known as the Brianstorm family.

The naivety went away pretty quick. Upon realizing how much work would be involved, I set the bar as low as I could and elected to focus on a letters only, all caps font that would be used in header text.

Brianstorm Slab Capital Letters

Once the foundation was complete, I didn’t feel like settling on it. The initial progress only encouraged me to do more, and soon enough I was working on lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. The continuous development made me obsess more about my typeface usage, so it was only a matter of time before I decided to conceptualize sans-serif glyphs. In my mind, it would allow me to not rely on any fonts that weren’t made by me.

Sans-serif lettersSans-serif letters proved to be more challenging than their slab-serif counterparts

Once I completed the first versions of Brianstorm Sans, which featured light and medium weights, I elected to use them for headers and link text while using the slab serif for body text. I felt the slab version was better for reading body text and that the sans version gave clarity to the headers. You can see their full execution in this site; I have solely used Brianstorm fonts in my personal site and portfolio so that every aspect of my branding comes from my own hands.

Brianstorm watchface Brianstorm used on my Moto 360 watchface