VRT News: Adding new style to an established family

A typeface can be a crucial, unifying element in a visual identity, and if a small piece is missing, it can easily be added to the puzzle.

When the Belgian Dutch-language public broadcaster VRT (short for Vlaamse Radio en Televisie, or Flemish Radio and Television) initiated its company-wide rebranding effort in early 2017, the typography became a critical part of its visual identity. In the company’s search for a new corporate typeface, branding agency Today discovered Forma DJR. Aldo Novarese’s little-known 1968 neo-grotesque—the famed Nebiolo foundry’s Italian answer to the immensely successful Helvetica—had been revived by David Jonathan Ross at the suggestion of art director and typographic consultant Roger Black. Forma DJR exhibited qualities the Swiss classic was missing: almost unnoticeable details such as the subtly flared strokes and rounded corners, making it a warmer and more stylish alternative.

Service: Custom licensing and consulting
Partners: DJR in collaboration with Today
Date: 2017


Today creative partner Tom Andries saw Forma DJR as a chic, functional type family that radiated quality and was very forgiving in use. But he needed an even bolder weight than the existing Bold for highlighting headlines and news flashes. Having a heavy variant would make it possible to design all of the different applications of the new visual identity using a single type family, thus creating a streamlined, consistent style.


Being able to closely observe the development of the Black weight from the ground up meant Today could plan its implementation far ahead. Ross kept Today informed about the design and engineering process and provided them with in-progress versions of the typeface, which allowed Today’s design team and their client to try out the new Black weight in real-life situations. By the time the extra weight was finalized, the new VRT visual identity was ready for the type family to be seamlessly integrated.

If your preferred typeface is missing styles that you need, commissioning additional weights, widths, or other variations can expand its expressive range.