mozilla

mozilla <3
open fonts

Background

Mozilla loves Meta. It has been our go to typeface for quite some time now, but recently there are factors pushing us to think that it would be a good time to evaluate our font options and possibly move in another direction for the Mozilla & Firefox wordmarks (as well as other communications).

Since we are a non-profit foundation and leaders in open source, we think it would be good to have something more open and localizable, as well as a strong fit with the new site design and branding initiatives we're putting together. Basically, we want it to be as unique as we are.

So, who are we?

We prioritize principles over profits to put individuals in control and shape the future of the web for the public good. We're unconventional, engaging, honest, human, smart, confident. We are Mozilla.

Inspiration

When it comes to typography that inspires us, there are a two key typefaces that we feel embody many of our above mentioned qualities. Gotham, by Hoefler & Frere-Jones and Museo Sans, by exljbris. The strength of form and cleanliness of both these typefaces can easily be the defining factor in creating a campaign or wordmark worth rallying around.

Gotham

Gotham's voice as described by H&F-J is "friendly without being folksy, confident without being aloof, Gotham's many moods run from hip to nostalgic to brash to eloquent." The power this typeface wields is overwhelming at times, it demands your attention and calls you to action.

Museo Sans

Museo Sans in its 500 weight is already an open font for use, and is used by Mozilla on a few web properties already. It has similar visual strength to Gotham and the clarity of form in its characters is excellent for print, screen and mobile.

Challenges / Requirements

voice
Unconventional, engaging, honest, human, smart, confident. The typeface should have the strength of uppercase with the approachability of lowercase.

open license
Free distribution to Mozilla employees, partners, community members, etc, without licensing concerns.

full set of international characters
Firefox's 75+ languages need to be covered within the typeface's character set. Meta's current character set covers us, and Museo Sans is also a great example of a full character set that would fullfill Mozilla's needs.

clarity across usage scenarios
The typeface will be used in a variety of placements within our global community. From website headlines, in-product callouts, tshirts, posters, and now with mobile and small screens playing a strong role, the type should be very versatile.

good for vertical stacking
The mozilla wordmark has to be a tight stack with the product that comes underneath (Firefox, Thunderbird, Drumbeat, etc). We're looking for a tighter fit than what we currently have and we're open to suggestions.
(see fig. i for current use)

fig i. Current Stacked Wordmark

horizontal placement
When mozilla is next to a product name it needs to look good. The current situation with "mozilla Firefox" looks odd as one word is capitalized and the other lowercase. We're open to all suggestions here as well.
(see fig. ii for current use)

fig ii. Current Horizontal Wordmark

uppercase vs. lowercase
Mozilla has historically been lowercase to give a an approachable, friendly feeling. That said, both the vertical and horizontal placement bring us to these concerns: Should it be MOZILLA FIREFOX? (fig. iii) mozilla firefox? (fig. iv) Mozilla Firefox? Something else? Can a typeface allow us to maintain the lowercase feel while giving us the tight fit of uppercase?

fig iii. All Caps Wordmark

fig iv. Lowercase Wordmark

Future Considerations

Once we have an amazing new typeface to rally around, future expansion would be to look at a lighter weight as well as a stronger weight, perhaps using either to differentiate between parent organization and product offering.