Over the past decade, WeWork has become the undisputed leader in coworking. After weathering the exit of their controversial founder and the covid pandemic, which restructured the way we all think about workspaces, the WeWork team was looking for a new perspective on their strategy and identity. We came on board to work on the typography, which consisted of a refreshed wordmark and a brand new custom display typeface, all designed to seamlessly fit into a robust and well-considered visual system created by Franklyn.
In redesigning the wordmark, we looked closely at the old mark along with the team at Franklyn to see what could be kept to provide continuity and what could be let go of to provide a more elevated and considered look. We liked the weight of the old wordmark, as well as the gentle curves on the serifs. We also responded to the ball terminal on the r, and the overall contrast between sharp, flat, and rounded elements. The new mark keeps these features, while moving away from the inky rendering, overly wide proportions, and inconsistent spacing of the original.
WeWork Serif is based on the wordmark, but being lighter, narrower, and more suited for longer text, it occupies a different part of the design space in terms of weight, width, and contrast. The teams at Franklyn and WeWork wanted to achieve a style that felt welcoming and friendly, but also trustworthy and established, so we tested out a variety of shapes for each glyph, trying to establish the right balance of round ball terminals and flatter, more angular gestures. The design clicked into place when we swapped in the flat ear on the g and the flat terminal at the bottom of y.
WeWork Serif includes an italic, and was designed to sit nicely with Aperçu, the type family WeWork currently uses. The new type also contains a number of useful features made specifically for the needs of the design team, such as figures that sit below the cap height and work well for setting addresses, the ability to turn off connecting ligatures and instead use a contextual shortened f, and a global set of currency symbols. Most rewarding for us is seeing how the type is a perfect companion to the wonderful illustration system created by Franklyn.
Direction: Jelle Maréchal, Yoko Kristiansen, David Corpuz
Font Manufacturing: Stephen Nixon