Chatype for Chattanooga
A recent story from Marketplace sets the scene with a picture of the city’s renaissance, then gets right to the fontspeak, showing how some cities and their local businesses/governments are adopting unified custom fonts, seeing typography as a “sexy idea” with real potential.
I like this story for so many reasons. It’s about typography and design; it’s about a clever concept for effective public relations from a branding perspective; and in the space of four minutes, reporter Blake Farmer brings all these concepts together in practical application. As I said earlier on Twitter, “From “nerdspeak” to “sexy idea” in four minutes? You guessed it; we’re talking about a font.” Gotta’ love that.
Jeremy Dooley, Jonathan Mansfield and D.J. Trishler, all featured in the story, saw through this brand of design work via Chatype and successfully raised funding to get the idea out there. Check out the full presentation on Kickstarter and enjoy D+J‘s video overview here of what goes into crafting an effective font.
I have to wonder though, what comes next? Do the designers offer free installation on computers of local businesses? As a design studio promoting this font, living in the city it was designed for, do they now throw all other fonts out the window and use this one exclusively? Do they use this as a tool for new business by offering, say… 250 free business cards or free signs that use the font for local establishments, with an offer for reprints at a discount for incorporating the font into the branding? Imagine the PR a local business could stir up by saying, “Ladies & Gents, check out our new bathroom signs – more than meets the eye!” How about some QR code magic? Here’s a sample I whipped up just now:
Maybe a bar or restaurant runs a contest for customers to “spot the font” somewhere on site. There are so many opportunities, and I hope exploring them brings good press, profits, and most of all — fun, for everyone involved.