WundermanThompson’s bespoke typeface celebrates the marriage of two historic agencies
At the end of 2018, advertising giant WPP announced a merger between two of its companies, J. Walter Thompson and Wunderman. The result is WundermanThompson, a digital agency with more than 80 offices globally. Their London-based design team were given the task of branding the newly-formed agency and therefore, throughout 2019, decided to meticulously craft a bespoke typeface inspired by their rich history.
Type designers Samuel Powell (Archive Foundry) and Samuel Oakes underwent an extensive research process, which ultimately led them to J. Walter Thompson and Wunderman’s foundation in early 20th century New York. The architecture and typographic styles from this period became hugely influential in the creation of the typeface, informing its overall personality as well as several stylistic intricacies.
Powell and Oakes were particularly inspired by the semi-extended, hand-painted lettering found on New York’s facades. By looking through the extensive archive of the American Type Foundry, they found the original typefaces used for the signage on both J. Walter Thompson and Wunderman’s original locations. The discovery of these two typefaces, Times Gothic and Gothic 520, allowed them to create a bespoke type family reminiscent of both companies heritage.
Prominent features include the angled stem on the lowercase ‘t’ and the rounder-than-usual double-storey ‘g’. The designers add that “Variability was a key consideration during development. We employ this in moments where we want to inspire growth. This could be a client win or an introduction to the building. It can react to a variety of inputs such as sound, motion or data.”
The aptly named WT Gothic gives the global agency the ability to offer language support for over 150 countries and provides a conceptually sound foundation to build on as it moves into a new era.