Samsonite Sans | Grilli Type

Grilli Type is an independent Swiss type foundry founded by Noël Leu and Thierry Blancpain in late 2009. The pair and their team offer original retail and custom typefaces and often collaborate with designers, artists and developers including Josh Schaub, Pieter Pelgrims, Refurnished+, XXIX, and David Elsener. Grilli Type was recently commissioned by Wunderman Thompson Belgium to create a custom typeface for luggage manufacturers Samsonite. The typeface would accompany Samsonite’s global Born To Go campaign and would be implemented across their packaging, website and advertisement campaigns.

Samsonite Sans was designed as a typeface family consisting of one weight in five widths; compressed, condensed, standard, extended and expanded. Created with Samsonite’s ethos in mind, the font’s family structure reflects the brand’s aim to be “fit for a life on the go”; be that for worldwide travel or simply the everyday commute.

Rooted in the penmanship of the renaissance period, Samsonite Sans highlights Grilli Type’s reaction to the question of “how can design language be brought into the 21st century, with humanity meeting technology at an ever-faster pace”. Furthermore, the typeface mirrors Samsonite’s brand spirit of looking forward and celebration of new designers and materials, yet always preserving the brand’s past and the history of travel.

When designing the font, the Grilli Type team also had to consider the adaptability of the letters, as part of the advertising campaign would be animated. This played an important part in the design of the typeface as the team had to ensure that it was still easily legible when moving in various patterns. The videos are a key element for the global campaign that would be used online and they “emphasise a life in motion”. The animations were created by Anthony Velen and Kenny Brandenberger.

The Samsonite Born to Go projects marks the beginning of a new brand identity for the world-renowned luggage company, and the striking advertisements are still making an impact on the market. Grilli Type continues to work on custom type projects for a variety of companies including Esquire, Pitchfork and Film Independent as well as offering typefaces via their own type catalogue.