PayPal recently announced a new font that they are quite proud of, which, according to the designer (https://klim.co.nz/blog/paypal-sans-design-information/), features “understated elegance” and shows the “confidence and foresight to buck the neo-grotesque groupthink of their Silicon Valley brethren.”
Fig 1: Left: PayPal’s new custom font. Right: this approximation in “Hiragino Sans” (a default Mac font) lacks the Skia-esque whimsy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skia_(typeface)) of PayPal’s font.
Since this font is to be used in the PayPal phone app, it was designed “with special consideration for mobile devices.”
However, perhaps this font can still be improved.
To really convey a sense of “money” and “confidence,” a banking font can evoke the idea of gold. Everyone knows: gold = money, so this is a shortcut that brings trust and reliability to the forefront of the user’s mind.
The problem with making a gold-leaf font is that there isn’t just a specific shade of yellow-orange that you can make as a font and have it be “gold.”
Gold requires a specific kind of metallic reflection that can’t be faked with a single color.
Fig 2: The “gold text” on this tilted smartphone just looks orange. That won’t do!
Luckily, we can fix this
- Since this is on a phone, the accelerometers of the phone can be used to figure out how the phone is being held, and then a fake reflection can be generated on the metallic surface of the text.
- The phone’s front-facing camera could even be used to detect light sources; then the gold could reflect light (and perhaps even the actual room the user is in!) in a convincing manner.
Fig 3: Now that the phone’s accelerometer is being used, we can have a shiny specular highlight move across the text as the user tilts the phone (note the shine on the right side of this image). Instant gold!
Only through the use of a gimmicky gold font can a bank (or other financial operation) prove that is a legitimate and venerable institution.
PROS: Brings gravitas to your online bank. And you don’t have to pay a custom font designer.
CONS: May dazzle users with its brilliance. Could induce epilepsy under unusual circumstances.