New City, New Font

It’s easy to think of Milton Glaser’s “I Love New York” logo when thinking of the Big Apple, or the Hollywood sign when we think of Los Angeles, but it’s not often we can define an entire city by one particular typeface. There’s news coming out of Chattanooga, Tennessee that is intent on changing that. Brand designer D.J. Trischler and designer Jeremy Dooley are helping to redesign the identity of their city with a brand new font called Chatype.

Chatype is a a thick, segmented typeface that brings to mind bike lanes, park signage and public places, images of active people gathering together outdoors. It’s successful in its mission of bringing a new life to a city that otherwise is lost in public memory, and hopefully will inspire residents to become a part of their own outdoor community. It will be interesting to see what effect Chatype has on tourism and public perception of the small Tennessee city.

It seems a novel idea, for a city to create its own font. In reality, many cities in Europe and beyond have for centuries been defined by their own particular typeface. Paris for me is forever associated with beauty, defined by the Art Nouveau style of its metro signs. When I think of Buenos Aires, I think of Fileteado, one of the liveliest fonts on the planet. Whether walking around a small village in Slovenia or seeing grand signs in Italy, it’s one way to easily recognize a city and get a feel for the way it portrays itself. If your city had its own font, how would you describe it?