2023 Award Winner

Cubano: A story about a community and a font

A Story About a Community and a Font | Edgar Allan

One thing I know: Running a small(ish) agency is nothing you want to do without a village. 

We’ve always been pretty aware that we’re not an island here at EA – that the collection of talented friends we engage with and keep around us are just as important as any clients we court or traditional employees we entice to come join us full-time. The pandemic, however, only heightened the absolute vital value of those connections. And so did the act of growing up as a shop.

On March 13, 2020, we were around 10 people total, all of us in Atlanta, Georgia. Today, in March 2022, we’re pushing 30, across five countries. That’s quite a leap, and all kinds of other pains and misfires and challenges notwithstanding (things we’ll talk more about here moving forward), the shift made rethinking our own brand and launching a website to match our evolution so necessary. 

So, we did it. Our rebrand is a colorful, optimistic externalization of who we are and have become as a business. And we love Edgar – our little anthropomorphized E/A figure – a whole lot. So, that’s all great. But what’s even better is that rethinking our visual and strategic identity gave us a chance to build our community even more. And it’s all because of a font, of all things.

In the trilogy of visual brand elements (color, type, imagery), type is pretty important to the EA brand. We’re partial to wordmarks and having a typeface that was just right – professional but friendly and linked with our story-led vibe – that was important. So, we started with the A and N, and through lots of searching, found a few typefaces with an approachable curved A and other letters that didn’t get weird (as typefaces tend to do when you fall in love with one letter first). We eventually chose one called Cubano, and went big with it, making its forms a huge part of our brand language. 

Funny thing, though: EA project manager Amy Hall knew this guy from Greenville, South Carolina, who’d designed a few fonts, and, as it turns out, he – Chandler Van De Water – had designed ours. We took that as kismet, but also a chance to feed the energy of this delightful coincidence back into the community from which it came. So, we commissioned Chandler’s brother, Richard (who happens to be a videographer), to film a little font story – for us, for Chandler, and for the Southern creative community in general. 

I won’t say more, because you should just watch it. It’s delightful, and so is the whole communal ecosystem of Southern design culture that it comes from. (Y’all should really come visit.)

So, bottom line is: I guess we could have just launched a brand. That’d have been nice.

But instead, we are all so stoked that we also managed to make a connection.

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