NFL All-Pro Display
The NFL Design team, in collaboration with Neil Summerour of Positype, have just completed an extended family of typefaces specifically designed to improved the aesthetic and accessibility on screens of all sizes. This work took design elements from the NFL’s Shield logo, classic typographic principles, and advances in font rendering technologies to create a contemporary family of typefaces that complement and extend the existing NFL brand. The All-Pro family will begin rolling out on NFL digital properties and content over the off-season, and will be widely adopted for the NFL’s 100th season beginning this fall.
Why create a new type family?
Problems had begun to emerge in the early 2010’s when embedded fonts became standard on the web. The NFL’s existing family of typefaces, Endzone, was designed for corporate branding and consumer products, not digital screens. Endzone proved to be functional in some cases, but the product designers were too often forced to license other typefaces for digital products. These decisions came with operational, branding, and budget implications that became increasingly challenging to manage. Things really became untenable as the diversity of digital screens and products exploded during the middle of the decade. The NFL needed something new.
It was important to begin with the recognition that this was NOT part of a rebranding of the National Football League. One of the strongest and most recognizable brands in the world, the NFL is iconic and what was to be created had to live next to and compliment the Shield, the existing type families, a number of event and initiative marks, and the 32 team brands. Most importantly, the output needed to solve the issues of accessibility, legibility, consistency, and file weight that were the impetus for the project.
The All-Pro family delivers on all of those goals. It is a consistent and focused system that remains horizontally efficient and vertically compact without compromising warmth. The typefaces avoid cliché trappings of letterform clipping and truncation, trendy visual motifs, and naive letter construction that ultimately age all too quickly and fall out of fashion. Instead, All-Pro relies on well-drawn, crisp letterforms and thoughtful aesthetic choices that strike a perfect balance between familiarity, fashion, and function.
Trading in the neutral for a more sturdy and athletic feel – All-Pro Display attempts to convey the dynamic nature of NFL football without becoming overly powerful or aggressive. All-Pro Display speaks football in its compact frame and squared sides. Competing radii on the exterior and interior outlines of the letterforms become easily recognizable as NFL while avoiding similarities that might bring to mind any one team within the league.
“We looked to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics type and poster work… I know this one well and spent a lot of time finding images of Super Bowl rings. Super Bowl rings for SB 10, 12, 16, 17, and 29 were my typographic favorites and they informed a lot of how I would adapt the skeleton. ” - Neil Summerour
To better accommodate an extremely robust graphics system for content and programming, Summerour worked with Dane Storrusten, Sr. Creative Director for NFL Media Brand and Graphics, to expand the Display family to include three separate widths. For Neil, it was about going beyond the brief and anticipating potential typographic situations.
“All-Pro Display’s primary duty is to be the contemporary voice of our NFL digital media design language, a huge effort we undertook in 2018 to optimize content for OTT, mobile news feeds, social media–and ultimately unify the digital content and network brands. The original display typeface, we defined, was a major anchor for the design system and truly is the personality of our digital brand. Neil and I hinged on details for the new face, we wanted a design that had strength, flexibility and distinct, ownable characteristics without being too “sporty” or overly fashionable. There’s a finite, but clear line and Neil absolutely nailed it.” - Dane Storrusten, Sr. Creative Director, NFL Digital Content.
Delivered in: 3 widths, 6 weights and matching italics.