Aleo font

Designing the Aleo font family was a way to dig deeper into a big passion of mine: type design. This project, however, turned out to be much more than expected.
Curious? You can download Aleo here.

Project type

Personal

Timeframe

Feb–Apr 2013

Challenges and goals

If you need something, make it

Slab serif typefaces saw a great surge in the last few years. In 2013, though, there were none coming in a large family available as free and open source fonts. This is why I decided to work on a slab typeface, aiming to build a complete family with a good legibility and a sleek, personal look at the same time.

Screenshots of Aleo open in Fontforge.
Aleo in the works in FontForge, the open source font editor.
Design process

Learning and sharing

I had played around with some fonts before Aleo, but I had never really worked on a full typeface. To get a head start and to help with my little experience, I decided to start off from an existing font. I eventually chose the sans-serif Lato font family, released under the SIL Open Font license, for the final slab design. The same open source license is used for Aleo.

A sample of Aleo

Aleo keeps and evolves the semi-rounded details of Lato. These give originality when the typeface is used in large sizes while keeping legibility high. It also has low contrast and open counterforms to make Aleo even easier to read. Aleo has true italics, ligatures, and supports over 130 languages.

A sample of Aleo showing the 6 available styles

After the public release, some companies and design agencies have contacted me to request some custom versions tailored to their needs. The food delivery company Just Eat is one of these.

Just Eat using Aleo on books, billboards and vehicles
The custom version of Aleo I made for Just Eat has been used in variety of ways.
Outcomes

Exceeding expectations

There is something unique about type design: a typeface is a fully accomplished work of design, but unlike most forms design, a typeface is something that you make, have full ownership on, but that then others take and use to make countless new pieces of design. It becomes a tool, a work of design that generates other design and transports new meanings. Aleo not only made me grow as a designer: it’s been been a great success. After the original launch on Behance, many design sites have talked about it and featured it, including Smashing Magazine, Font Squirrel and Fontfabric. Today, Aleo counts about 400.000 downloads and has been used by brands such as eBay, USA Today, Amazon and 7-Eleven.

A screenshot of eBay
eBay uses Aleo extensively.
A screenshot of For the win, by USA Today
USA Today uses Aleo on two sports sites: “The big lead” and “For the win”.
A page of the magazine Music Wanderer
Aleo in use on Music Wanderer by Rhox.
A screenshot of Pão Criação's site
Aleo on the site of the Brazilian design agency Pão Criação.
A screenshot of Amazon jobs
Amazon used Aleo for their jobs site.
Bottles of Melgarejo oil, and a book by Arno Geiger
Melgarejo olive oil (left) and a book by Arno Geiger (right) using Aleo.
A screenshot of the 7-Eleven site
Aleo in use to promote 7-Eleven’s fuel-app.