Buka Sans, new type family for Bukalapak.

17 April 2020 by Jasmine Julda
Buka Sans, new type family for Bukalapak.

Say hello to Buka Sans, our newest custom typeface project for Bukalapak, we team up with Thinking Room Inc and Budi Tanrim from Bukalapak Design to develop custom made typefaces for Bukalapak brand new identity.

Since the day Bukalapak started, they have already used several different typefaces. As the brand keeps evolving from time to time, they realized the necessity to have their own unique custom-made typeface. The kind of typeface that answers all their needs to express their characters at the same time.

Thus, Buka Sans® is believed to be just the right answer. Buka Sans® is introduced as the new, powerful, and effective brand asset for Bukalapak’s latest brand identity since the day Bukalapak started, they have already used several different typefaces. As the brand keeps evolving from time to time, they realized the necessity to have their own unique custom-made typeface. The kind of typeface that answers all their needs to express their characters at the same time.


For such an established brand like Bukalapak, it is essential to not only show their audience what the brand is but also to communicate its visions and values through their brand identity. As one of the largest E-commerce companies in the country, Bukalapak needs to have a distinct brand identity to stand out, especially to its own target audience. Therefore, a fresh upgrade to its former brand identity is believed to be needed.

The brand’s former typeface was bold and sturdy. However, it comes in a rather circular shape which made it look too wide and overly sophisticated with all the added contrast details. Thus, it was not compatible with Bukalapak’s upcoming new look, which portrays the excitement and empowering spirit to its broad audience. Also, the new typeface must be in a balanced proportion, just like the font system found in Roboto, Helvetica, etc.

The kind of typeface the brand needs has to be handled carefully since there are issues to solve, both visually and functionally. Visually, they need their identity to be fun and expressive. However, when it comes to function, it must be legible and easy to understand, especially when the target audience is broad. Such considerations are crucial for typeface applications, both on printed and digital materials.


Together with Thinking Room Inc as the one executing the new brand identity, the process initiated with a mini-workshop to fabricate the visual direction of the new identity thoroughly. Using the directions and characteristics generated from the workshop, developments of the brand’s new identity, including the upcoming typeface, could start.

The process started by deciding on the initial structures for the character’s proportions, which was continued by adding some weight on many aspects. The next step would be the most important part of the process, adding characters. Without this, the typeface would not be any different from the others. This is what makes it unique and distinct, yet still functional. For example, flowy and playful characters can be found on the curved lowercase “f”, double-story lowercase “y”, and the spurless uppercase “G”. Also, the lowercase “t” with its flat ending and a tailed lowercase “l” are other examples of how the brand’s characters are represented to the typeface.

Contrasting needs from both production and marketing teams are identified in the early stage of this typeface’s trials. A relatively efficient design is needed by the production team, whereas expression is essential for the marketing team. As a solution to this issue, developing two versions of the typeface is believed to be necessary. These two versions of Buka Sans are Buka Sans Display and Buka Sans Text.

The two versions of Buka Sans surely come as a definitive solution to the issue since each of them plays their own part. Initial framework development starts by designing the large-scale types which will look compact when used. This then becomes the Buka Sans Display. And for Buka Sans Text, adjustments on the optical corrections are needed to retain legibility for when the typeface is used on a smaller scale. While doing so, keeping its unique characters in place cannot be forgotten.


The biggest difference between those two versions of Buka Sans is the size of the Apertures. On Buka Sans Text, the Aperture is set wider to create spaces on the Counters so it will be easy to read. Also, a higher X-height is designed to create a more balanced proportion and fill the margins between Caps Height and X-height at the same time. Whereas Buka Sans Display, it is designed to look more solid, especially on the parts where the weights are heavier. The Aperture on this version of Buka Sans is made closer to create that sense of solidity as well.

Bukalapak’s brand identity is a great example of how a brand can communicate its visions and characters through visuals, especially well-made typography. Consistent and effective communication between collaborators and the in-house design team is the key to success in this project. Both parties know what they want for the brand really well. This way, clear visions on what to achieve, explore and solve are easier to recognize. With consistency, we managed to answer the brief properly.

Buka Sans® comes as a powerful and effective new brand asset for Bukalapak. This typeface has its own way of showing the brand’s expressive and unique characteristics really well. Buka Sans® is made to be used in broad functions, thus it comes in ten styles ranging from Light to Black. For more sophisticated use, the Light version will surely be suitable. This range then broadens to Regular, Medium, and Bold, which can be used when writing a casual subheadline and running texts. Last but not least, for big type treatments, Extrabold and Black are believed to serve the use.

Big thanks to the great collaborator, Thinking Room Inc. and Bukalapak Design Team for the perfect teamwork on developing this typeface from sketch to the screen. Also a big shout out to Budi Tanrim, Yoel Krisnanda and Steve Lionardo, Edho Pratomo for helping us throughout the process and for giving us the opportunity to collaborate with their internal team.