Fast Company—Type & Language

TYPEFACE

Fast Company is a magazine that tends to perpetuate a bold, modern look, and their typefaces help them to accomplish this. Fast Company’s design team actually designed their own typefaces to use in the print publication, back in September 2011. These 3 fonts are called Kaiser, Zirou Sans, an Zirou Slab, and can be seen all throughout their magazine in different fonts.IMG_2857

Generally speaking, they tend to use Kaiser fonts for their headlines and display copy, while Zirou Sans and Slab tend to be seen within the body copy of the print publication. Most of the display copy is bold, whereas they stick to regular font typeface in the body copy, using bold to offset text sometimes, like in Q&A format.

A bold, chunky font (of the Kaiser typeface) is used for headlines, but is manipulated differently depending on the design of the piece, or whether it is a feature or a recurring column.

The magazine is designed in a particularly eye-catching way, and I think the boldness of the headlines is a factor in its success. The typefaces, specifically those used in display copy and the headlines, scream “look at me!” But there’s also a sense of maturity to it, because it looks very intentional. Fast Company is a modern-day business magazine, so of course they want to be taken seriously and professionally. A less intentional design would not perpetuate the professionalism that the magazine desires.

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LANGUAGE

The headlines that appear in Fast Company are usually punchy, quick ones of 5 words or fewer. They usually are straight to the point of the article, although a bit of wordplay is used (i.e. “Fear and Loathing of Silicon Valley”). Because of the nature of these punchy headlines, most of the stories have deks that go a little bit more in-depth with what the story’s about.

Pull quotes are used, most often in feature stories. Sometimes they are quotes, attributed to the speaker. Other times they are simply portions of the body copy enlarged, or teasers that subliminally reference the story in the copy.

The captions usually differ from what’s in the body copy, or emphasize what’s already been said in the article. Labels are handled differently depending on the context. For instance, in the November 2014 issue of Fast Company, one of the stories in the well featured a variety of successful people, so the labels included an arrow pointing at their photograph, with a brief description of the person and a quote from him or her.

Bylines and credit lines are listed with the writer on top and the photographer or illustrator listed below.

One notable aspect of the language used in Fast Company is that it often targets the reader specifically. For instance, a few heads in the November issue were “Your Smartphone’s Getting Smarter” and “Find Your Mission.” I’m not sure if this is purely coincidental, but it piqued my interest because it seems unusual. Fast Company is a magazine that’s meant to target and inspire young innovators and businesspeople, so perhaps this was a language choice made with that in mind.

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