So today I stumbled across something rather cool, something that y’all might also find interesting.

Chattanooga is getting its own typeface; its own font. (I’m misusing the two terms throughout what follows. mea culpa.) It is called chatype. Now the link doesn’t take you to the font, it takes you to the developers’ page. And if you want to go to that link and the various links off it you can skip the rest of this post. I’m mostly using what’s there for what’s here. But… I’m rather excited, so I’m going on with this.

The short version of the background is that a couple of people who actually design fonts professionally and who happen to live around here met and had a “wouldn’t it be cool” moment. Specifically, “Wouldn’t it be cool to develop a Chattanooga font, a font named after the city that in some way reflects (with a bit of rose colored glass work) that city? Something that’ll match against New York and Chicago and Geneva?

Now what I didn’t know is that there are actually a lot of city typefaces in Europe. It’s a subtle bit of branding. Cities will pay to have a font designed, then use it in official documents and signs. Some will do various games to have locals, both businesses and individuals, use the font as well. So this program isn’t a new thing, just rather different for a US city.

Anyway, the thing is there’s been this quiet campaign to make it actually happen. One part of that has been using kickstart for initial funding. Put simply the designers said, “If we raise $10,000 by March 1, 2012, we’ll complete the project. As part of the up front terms, if you’re an organization or business or individual living in Chattanooga you can use the font for free.” (That, by the way, can be a big deal on top of a huge bargain. Professionally designed fonts can run a lot higher, especially when there are multiple weights. Yep, multiple weights. Right now the typeface is planned to be in thin, regular, medium, bold, and bold stencil. But I digress.)

They raised the money by late February. Chatype will happen.

The designers say it’s going to be a few more months before the type’s completely ready. In the meantime there’s a bit of a campaign to make Chattanooga more aware of its own special type, which is how I happened to stumble across it.

I’ve got to admit, I’ll probably wind up using it as a standard font in a lot of my print (vs web) work as well. There’s just this subtle joy in the extra touch.


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