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Sheridan Curiosities Blog

Font design for the "Share a Coke" campaign

The next time you raise a glass of your favourite beverage, you might be toasting the artistry of Ian Brignell. The font and lettering designer has created logos for some of the biggest names in beverages, including Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray, Budweiser, Miller, Coors Light and Coke.

Brignell’s work is not limited to liquid refreshment products. He has also left his mark on some of the most recognized brands in North America, including Bell, Duracell, Dove, Burger King, Harvey’s and Hershey’s, to name just a few.

Sheridan Graphic Design alumnus Ian Brignell

Ian Brignell. Photo by Balvis Rubess

With such a high profile roster of clients, Brignell can count many career highlights, but one of the most memorable was designing the font for Coca Cola’s Share-a-Coke campaign. “It was top secret. I did the job in two weeks having no idea what the lettering would be used for,” recalls Brignell. He found out a month later that his design would be used for the personalized bottle and can promotion which was launched in 2011 and has since made its way around the world. “It was a great feeling to see my work on a billboard in Paris when I was there this past summer.”

A 1982 graduate of Sheridan’s graphic design program, Brignell caught his big break in 1995 when Estḕe Lauder hired him to create the logo for a new perfume, pleasures. The freelance designer has since taken much delight in working on campaigns for several other iconic products that he remembers from his childhood, such as Caramilk, ChapStick and Aspirin. “I love the emotional effect letters can have – the memories they evoke and the mood they create.”

“I love the emotional effect letters can have – the memories they evoke and the mood they create” – Ian Brignell

For Brignell, each new assignment presents a unique challenge. “Every project is like a present to unwrap or a puzzle to solve,” he says. “When dealing with big brands, you may not be able to change the design much, but there is often a segment of the market the client isn’t reaching. It’s my job to find subtle ways to make that happen.”

Today, after 32 years of designing lettering and fonts, Brignell has introduced his own online type foundry, IB Type Inc. In a way, it is a nod to his college days. Graphic design students have been calling for the artist to make his designs available in the retail font marketplace. Now, anyone can have a Brignell Typeface in his or her font library.


Pictured at top of page: Font design for the “Share a Coke” campaign

Written by: Carol Hill, Editor in the Alumni Department at Sheridan.

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