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#CreativeBranding – LeBron James is Now a Typeface -

lebron james typeface

Last week, we discussed how Pepsi’s foray into the Smartphone race is a disaster waiting to happen. Today’s post starts off with a lighter note; basketball star LeBron James’s foray into typeface. The player already has everything from a logo, sneakers and clothing to his name. And now, LeBron “The King” James has a typeface. Yes, you read right. The MVP player for the Cleveland Cavaliers signed a lifetime contract with Nike and the brand decided to set its claim in stone by giving the basketball star a font to claim as his own. The stylized lettering is based on the professional basketball player’s line of sneakers and seems to take cue from James’s existing logo; a block like “L” accompanied by a similarly styled “J.” James’s kingly title can be seen in the form of a crown hovering over the design. Here it is –

lebron

And here is the new typeface in action –

lebron-james-typeface
Image Source: Sawdust

As you can see the typeface, created by Sawdust, takes inspiration from James’s logo and has a similar stately appearance. Nike will probably be using the new typeface to promote all LeBron James merchandise.

The creators at Sawdust chose to adapt James’s “kingly” persona to his typeface as co-owner Rob Gonzales explains, “We also wanted it to have a sense of sense of ‘kingliness’. Some of the ways we managed to achieve this was by having powerful sweeping serifs, which had a feeling of heritage – bold and sharp in style, yet graceful – all of this while trying to have a refined and regal edge.”

Fit for a King

Why is everyone going crazy over the typeface of one of the NBA’s top scorers? LeBron James is considered to be one of the biggest names in basketball. A post on Stltoday.com says that “a handful of cities are throwing themselves at his feet” for a chance to sign him up for their teams. The 6’8” player has won four NBA MVP awards and two NBA championships. The resultant typeface looks as athletic, broad and commanding as well.

Needless to say, the font suits LeBron’s title of “The King” quite splendidly. And our panelists agree. Our panelists for today will discuss how the font’s style impressively mimics James’s own reputation as a star athlete

AJ Delinger – Tech writer

Margaret Rhodes – Staff writer at WIRED

Here is what our panelists have to say about the MVP’s new typeface –

AJ Delinger

AJ Delinger explains how LeBron James’s new font represents the player’s achievements so far –

 “…the font style takes its cue from the existing LBJ23 logo …The font also draws from James himself. An anomaly on the court, the extremely athletic and high flying superstar moves with grace and exceptional vision…James sports a hybrid style of strength and finesse that has rarely been seen in the league prior to his debut,…netting him two NBA titles and four MVP awards. With all this in mind Sawdust built a boxy, slick font that will be used to represent James.”

Margaret Rhodes

Margaret Rhodes explains that James isn’t the first athlete whose accomplishments and fame netted him his own font –

 “It must be strange to see yourself personified as a set of bold letterforms, but James isn’t even the first athlete that Sawdust has whipped into a typeface; prior to this commission, Nike had them do the same for Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.”

Andy Redman

 

Steven Phelps

 

Emma Piercy

 

And here they are –

 

lebron-11
Image Source: Sawdust

The Font is in the Fame

Only the best athletes have had the privilege of personals brand built around them. Some sporting personalities have become so famous that they need nothing but personalized logos to represent them. In other words, personalized branding of professional athletes is nothing new. Brands like Nike and Air Jordan have worked with big name athletes like LeBron and Russel Westbrook the same way. However, how effectively a typeface represents a personality ultimately depends on the skill of the designers that created it. LeBron James’s typeface brings this fact home.

Author Bio:    

Evan is an Expert in Digital Marketing. He has been working in the social media space since 2008, with a focus on design services, user interface planning, branding and more. Currently, he is leading content marketing efforts at DesignMantic and has played an integral part in the success story of DesignMantic through strategic marketing campaigns. Evan is also a design pro, who has shown a predilection towards DIY design projects.

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