With a background in art and calligraphy, Akira has designed several award-winning typefaces — typically Latin fonts, though he studied in his native Japan.

“Letter drawings are only one part of my design process. The space surrounding the letters is also of primary importance. I believe that the success or failure of a typeface is a question of a good balance of white space inside and outside the letters.

Sometimes it seems that I spend more time worrying about white space than I do designing the letterforms. But letters do not stand by themselves; they have to work together to form words. I always design type with an eye on its end use as typography.”

Akira’s Work Surrounds Us

Imagine that you are a bank. Your customers cannot physically touch your products, or smell, hear, or taste them. Your competitors offer similar products. And customers all want exactly the same products: where money is concerned, most people are rather conservative. The visual brand presence – the corporate design of a bank – offers a way of making you stand out from the rest of the market. 

UBS AG, together with Akira Kobayashi and the Zürich branding agency, Scholtysik Niederberger Kraft (SNK) has recently gone down this road successfully. In summer of 2010, the new UBS headline was delivered. Since then, it is gradually conquering new ground. First it appeared on brochures and in customer magazines, then in display windows. The next big steps will be the renovation of the 300 branches in Switzerland and the redesign of the website.

Learn more about the UBS Headline typeface design