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Spotify Mix: A Dy(i)nam(o)ic Typeface Redesign

As far as music streaming platforms go, I've always been an iTunes loyalist which, of course, rebranded to the less popular Apple Music. When Spotify launched, it was enticing, but I had too many playlists, too many ‘custom’ tracks, and too many resources that I had aggregated into Apple Music—I was never a convert, but this font might just turn me.

Spotify, the global leader in music streaming, recently unveiled its latest branding innovation: the Spotify Mix typeface. This bespoke font, created in collaboration with Dinamo Typefaces, marks a significant shift in Spotify's visual identity, promising to enhance both its user interface and advertising presence.

A Typeface for the Modern Age

Since its inception, Spotify has been synonymous with its lime green color and Wi-Fi-inspired logo which makes sense, given that you generally need an internet connection to use their service. These elements have become iconic, but as the brand continues to innovate, its visual identity must evolve. As is becoming kosher with so many big brands, Spotify has developed its own typeface in collaboration with Dinamo Typefaces called Spotify Mix—a typeface designed to reflect Spotify’s dynamic and diverse nature and content.

I've mentioned the typeface design and several previous brand reviews, but this one will focus solely on the type design as it will be one of the biggest brand refresh elements that Spotify has ever launched. And it is particularly nice given what they're trying to do as a brand. And of course, it's beautifully executed.

Dinamo × Spotify Mix

Dinamo Typefaces (known to me and others as ABC Dinamo), a pioneering type foundry known for its experimental and high-quality designs, partnered with Spotify to create this unique typeface. Dinamo has an impressive portfolio, including retail fonts like Ginto and Walter, as well as more avant-garde designs like Arizona and White Ink Trap. Their collaboration with Spotify represents their most high-profile project to date, aimed at both UI and advertising applications.

The good news is people already love it:

byu/mattsuda from discussion

Key Features of Spotify Mix

Spotify Mix stands out with its meticulous details and versatility. Some things to love:

  • Sharp Terminals and Teardrop Counters: These elements add character and distinctiveness to the font. It's filled with wonderful details from sharp beaks to a sideways teardrop shape and the counters of ‘p’, ‘b’, ‘d’, and the like.
  • Balance and Expressiveness: The typeface boasts a range of expressive widths and weights, ensuring it can adapt to various contexts within Spotify’s ecosystem. It will also give the brand tonal flexibility ranging from soft love ballads to double bass pedal metal.
  • Dynamic Use in Media: The font's launch video showcases the Spotify logo bending and warping to music rhythms, which is of course what Spotify hangs its hat on as a music platform. I’m less interested in the ways they're using the typeface as album covers and social media posts, and more intrigued by the ways they’ll use the dynamism that their new font will afford them.

Implications for Spotify Branding

With Spotify Mix, the company moves away from generic fonts like Helvetica or worse, Arial, opting instead for a custom typeface that can singularly represent its brand across all platforms. This shift is not just about aesthetics but also functionality, ensuring that Spotify Mix can seamlessly integrate into the user interface and enhance advertising materials. Spotify will probably lean heavily on this new typeface and it honestly has the backbone to do it—well done Dinamo.

A Broader Trend in Custom Typography

Spotify’s venture into custom typefaces is part of a larger trend among major brands. Companies like McDonald's and Airbnb long ago developed bespoke fonts to strengthen their visual identities. However, the challenge lies in utilizing these typefaces in innovative ways. As type designer James Edmondson of Ohno Type Co. suggests, a brand can be as simple as its typeface. For this simplicity to stand out, the application of these custom fonts must be both creative and consistent.

Spotify Mix is more than just a new font; it’s a strategic move to unify and elevate Spotify’s brand identity. As custom typefaces become more prevalent, their success will hinge on thoughtful and imaginative usage. Spotify’s new typeface sets a high bar, showcasing how design can play a crucial role in maintaining a brand’s distinctiveness in a crowded marketplace.

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Spotify Mix variable space, by Dinamo Typefaces
Spotify Mix weights, widths, and italics, by Dinamo Typefaces
Spotify Mix character set, by Dinamo Typefaces

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