An American City Hoping to Change its Fortunes with a Font

In an effort to create a new visual brand for Chattanooga, Tennessee, the city considers adopting a custom typeface font for city media and signage.

Anya Krenicki
Published on March 15, 2012

Chattanooga, Tennessee is poised for a creative comeback. After cleaning up its past image as a dirty city, and experiencing an influx of artistic talents, Chattanooga is on the cusp of a turnaround. D.J. Trischler, a local brand consultant, explains the missing component: "If you think of a brand as a story, [Chattanooga] has an amazing story. If you look at the visual brand, it doesn’t back up that story.”

Trischler has recently joined forces with Chattanooga resident and typeface designer Jeremy Dooley to restore the city's look and feel by creating and applying a new font to city signage and print media. The concept of a distinguishing city typeface is common throughout Europe, yet has only been attempted (and failed) once in the United States. The efforts of Trischler and Dooley represent the first attempt to create this city-customized typeface at the grassroots level.

The pair teamed up with a second typeface designer, Robbie de Villiers, and Trischner's business partner Jonathan Mansfield. Together, they consulted a local historian to gather inspiration for their Chattanooga-inspired font, including the old Cherokee Native American writing system and Coca-Cola's first bottling plant. The result was what the team describes as a "geometric slab serif", a font simultaneously industrial and futuristic. Chattanooga now had a Chatype.

Public events have gathered community support and funding for the launch of Chatype, and the team expects residents to see the font popping up on signage, business cards and city government websites soon. Trischner and Dooley express hopes that Chatype will one day be seen on start-up businesses, road signs, fire trucks and police cars.

[Via GOOD]

Published on March 15, 2012 by Anya Krenicki
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