Toshi Omagari In 2008 Toshi Omagari graduated from Musashino Art University in Tokyo, Japan, where he studied typography and typeface design, before obtaining an MA in 2011 at University of Reading, United Kingdom, in typeface design. Working at Monotype UK, his specialisms include multilingual typography and font development and has worked on such language scripts as Mongolian, Latin, Cyrillic and Greek. He also created Metro Nova, a font based on the modern-day classic font Metro, developed by W.A. Dwiggins in 1929, which was released by Linotype in 2013.
DesignStudio was tasked with coming up with a new typeface for the Premier League rebranding effort, and wanted a geometric sans serif that had the flexibility of working across a variety of mediums e.g. on-air graphics, portable devices, league tables, and shirts. Omagari worked alongside DesignStudio to come up with such a font.
With the level of competition between professional football leagues in Europe increasing in nature, the Premier League wished to adapt to the digital age. But not only is the Premier League competing with other football leagues, it is facing competition from other sports and technologies that compete for the attention of viewers. The previous version of the Premier League typeface was in all-caps, however they wanted to go in a friendlier direction, adding freshness, and to be able to stand out not only visually, but also at a commercial level as well. The previous typeface was large and cumbersome, and had been created over 10 years prior, before the digital age had transformed to its current state. After redesigning the lion in the logo and creating a simpler, cleaner look, DesignStudio wanted a font that could provide the flexibility to work at a large scale but also be effective on digital applications. The typeface was to be used at small sizes as well as large, for example in large and small data tables. Not only that, but it also needed to be suitable for both short and long names, such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose name they tested the font on.
The first stage in designing the typeface utilized a wordmark initially created by DesignStudio at the beginning of the rebranding project. Omagari then took the existing work to build a full family, while working in close collaboration with DesignStudio beginning with the original g, m and r of the initial concept. They used angles at the tops of verticals to provide some distinction from other geometric san serifs.
Omagari worked with the studio in their London office, sometimes printing the letters and massive sizes, and editing and tweaking them under DesignStudio’s guidance. The result was “Premier Sans”, a flexible font that can work throughout the multimedia spectrum: TV, website, apps, print, broadcast. It also demonstrates a bolder personality and character for the Premier League brand. It is a functional typeface but also possesses some ‑air.
Together with Omagari, they didn’t stop at letters, but also worked on numbers and punctuation to create a full-scale that added personality when used at a larger, headline level. An emphasis was placed on having numbers being easily distinguishable when used in on-screen displays in particular, which the designers considered essential given how often they would be viewed on various screen types.
They also didn’t want to limit themselves to comparisons with other sporting leagues or brands, but with iconic brands at the cutting edge of design, such as Apple and Google, with a more open and personal feel. The aim was to build a brand identity that could stand out at a world-class contemporary playing field.