A small group of designers and entrepreneurs in Chattanooga, TN have been engaged in a grass-roots effort to make their city first city in the US to have its own font. It started last year when collaboration began on a font to encapsulate the unique aspects of the city. In January, the group unveiled Chatype, and launched a campaign on Kickstarter.com to raise $10,000 to help cover costs. That goes has since been reached.
Chatype is still being tweaked, but public interest has been remarkably strong. The typeface is already being incorporated into the city’s official website, and it soon will start showing up on out-of-state tourism billboards and across the front of the Chattanooga Public Library. Custom fonts for municipalities are somewhat common in Europe, but this is the first time it’s been done in the US.
What is the concept behind the idea?:
But through trying to channel the unique aspects of its city, Chattanooga is getting closer to capturing the special characters of itself. In trying to capture the essence of the city, designers drew inspiration from local reference points including:
- Cherokee alphabet
- the nation’s first Coca-Cola bottling plant
- signage from the famous “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” train station
…with a special eye towards where the city can be made to feel friendly, unique, and versatile, through contemporary and historic lenses.
But the project is still under construction, and creating a font is about more than just shaping 26 letters into a common style. To complete the project, organizers still have to finish: