I was recently asked to add the Walmart logo into a design I was working on. Easy enough. However, while placing the logo into layout, I couldn’t help but analyze it. Something about it looked very familiar. No, not because I walk by the popular store everyday, but because something about the font stood out to me. All of a sudden it hit me: the font looked like Myriad Pro. Now, I am in no way claiming to be some sort of typographic genius who can pinpoint fonts out of thin air, but for anyone who has worked with Adobe Illustrator, you may easily recognize Myriad Pro because it’s the program’s default font.
Once I noticed this, I quickly tested my theory by spelling out the word “Walmart” in Myriad Pro on my computer. I had to use the bold version to get the exact weight of the letters, but was pleasantly surprised with the results. I’ll admit it wasn’t an exact match, but I could tell that the designer who created the logo used this font as its base and then manipulated a few letters to make it look different.
I compiled my exploration into an easy-to-see comparison between the Walmart logo and the font. Regardless of the few minor differences (which I have pointed out), you’ll notice a strong correlation between the font images.
Even with this insight, I still wasn’t sold on the fact that a large corporation—with what I assume has a large design team—would use a default font as their primary typeface. I decided to dig deeper for more concrete answers. I quickly found Walmart’s brand standards and sure enough, Myriad Pro is their go-to font. I’ll admit that I was a bit shocked. How could the ultimate mega superstore use a default font for their logo? Having experience with rebrands at BatesMeron, I can tell you that sometimes the hardest part is finding a font. But I still wondered why Myriad Pro? Why a default font? Then I continued to examine Walmart’s brand standards and read their reason for choosing the font. The standards stated, “We’ve selected a type family that gives Walmart a friendly, warm, and real voice.” Although a surprising decision, Walmart has definitely put a lot of thought into their brand look and feel. So regardless if you’re a fan or not, they believe it supports their brand voice and speaks to the audience they are trying to target.
You may be asking yourself, “Todd, why do you care about this?” Well for me, working with fonts is a daily occurrence. And by having that experience, it’s opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes you don’t have to go searching for hours to find new or custom fonts. Sometimes all you need to do is manipulate a few things about a font and it can become custom. Even though I won’t be relying on a default font anytime soon, it was interesting to see how Walmart made Myriad Pro their own. Kudos Walmart.