The typography and letterforms found in New York City — unique signage, vernacular typography, and hand painted lettering — are relics cherished by many, both inside the city and beyond. NYC Type is a collaborative project that both celebrates and immortalizes these graphic forms. More than a repository of urban ephemera, it is a digital platform that aspires to be historically beneficial, a hub where people collectively explore, document and share contextual graphic content of common significance. In essence, NYC Type is a participatory gallery of found type that will include educational, editorial, and social components. The goal is to leverage the power of community in making online visual storytelling an engaging, easy and fun experience.
A LIVING HISTORY
We see NYC Type as a sort of collaborative Cubism being created in real time. Anyone with a camera becomes the painter, each photograph a dab of paint. Each contributor offers a unique vantage point, and over time a larger picture is assembled, rich with variety and detail. The story of the city comes alive in new and fresh ways through collective documentation, revealing a wealth of dimension in one distilled, easily-consumable form. NYC Type seeks to create a living, unified history of the city, one that changes daily, growing layer by layer, letter by letter.
Nyctype.com is only the beginning! The future of this idea is not relegated to New York, nor to the borders of typography as a genre. We call the platform behind NYC Type “Voyagr”, and we see it as the ideal venue for browsing thematic visual material in the digital realm — any theme, in any location.
After the launch of nyctype.com, we will focus on opening regional chapters, such as NW Type, which will focus on found type from the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. Then, we will open the Voyagr software to an international audience, allowing others to harness the platform's capabilities over a variety of locales and for all kinds of content.
At the heart of NYC Type is a passion for uniting people around a common cause. This is reflected first in the design, where two types of contributor content graphically co-exist. These two contributor types are the "high-fidelity" user (the highly passionate, dedicated user who travels with his or her SLR to get just the right shot) and the "low-fidelity" user (essentially, anyone with an Instagram account). By including both in the top tier of the interface, we celebrate the broad range of perspectives intrinsic to any community.
Additionally, by designing spaces dedicated to editorial features and discussion, and by implementing current social media sharing standards, we are creating possibilities for dialogue across media.
DESIGN & FUNCTIONALITY
From the ground up, this is a custom-built website. The reason? Quality. Our aspiration is to make an attractive, highly functional website with refined details, both in terms of aesthetics and interaction. Rather than altering our concept to fit another platform built for entirely different content and users, we plan to do things right, designing around specific content and specific users.
With an easy-to-use but graphically bold interface, our goal is to create a fluid and rewarding image browsing experience for viewers and contributors alike.
The new site will be responsive. For the uninitiated, that means that our content will scale across all browsers; a single design is optimized for each device on which it is being viewed, whether a 27" iMac or a smart phone. By harnessing Instagram content using hash tags, we give casual contributers the ability to stay actively involved, effortlessly. For images of higher quality, we are building a proprietary CMS in Ruby.￼ In utilizing geo-tagging, we are opening up a number of options that will allow users to explore their region virtually.
WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING?
As you see above, the full platform is quite extensive. Your donations will help finance all phases of the design process — user interface design, front- and back-end development, content creation and fine-tuning. The design is a collaborative effort between our small, talented team and its peripheral network of friends and cohorts in the design and web industry. We are intent on creating an attractive and robust digital space with careful attention to detail. To make this possible, a thorough user testing and QA (quality assurance) process will be key. Without this extensive dedication of time, NYC Type and Voyagr will not be possible. Your generosity allows us to create not just a product, but a beautiful, innovative tool.
Please help us spread the word. In addition to your financial contributions, your excitement helps fuel the charge and will make this campaign a success. Join us in proliferating this excitement across the web by sharing this on your favorite social network, or writing a blog post. Click here for our press kit.
We owe our supporters a big thank you! Our vision is one of community and by contributing you are furthering that vision and helping unite people in a common pursuit. In the process, you are also adding invaluable worth to the platform and its potential across the world. Special thanks to Nic Williams, Justin Milner, Chris Newkirk, Maria Popova, Oak Studios and all our friends at Studiomates. Thanks also to our collaborating artists, Damien Correll, Able Parris, Christopher David Ryan, Elizabeth Carey Smith, and Paul Soulellis. The support and assistance of all these people has been invaluable.
- Video: Jack Strain
- Music: Up Broadway, by Moondog
TEAM & HISTORY
Originally founded in 2007 by graphic designer Jason Powers, NYC Type now operates under the creative direction of Matthew Anderson. We are a team comprised of one designer (Matthew) and one front- and back-end developer (Daniel Hunninghake) which operates with the support of a small group of advisors. Passionate about typography and design for digital media, we are excited about bringing you onto the team as a NYC Type contributor in the future.
Anderson and Hunninghake’s work spans a breadth of styles and content, from corporate e-commerce to financial services and startups. Anderson’s design, for the likes of Victoria Secret PINK, TED and Project Projects, has been featured in a number of design publications, including the book Design Referenced, and magazines such as étapes, Graphis and Mass Appeal. Hunninghake has worked for innovative brands and agencies including NASDAQ, Ghostly International and Gin Lane Media. Their first collaboration, an experimental Wordpress theme inspired by Richard Paul Lohse, was well received in the online design community. This is their second project together.
- Miguel Senquiz (back-end development, strategy)
- Caren Litherland (content & strategy)
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU RAISE MORE THAN $10,000?
- Refine, refine, refine.
- Any feedback recieved from users after the launch of nyctype.com will guide our use of extra time for future launches and for Voyagr.
- Additional money may go toward producing unique objects and projects around the theme of New York’s found type (think art prints, or editorial features on noteworthy typographic locations).
Risks and challenges
This project’s main challenge will be the dedication of time and resources. Our team is comprised of two solo practitioners who must balance this project against other client work. The more money we raise, the more likely it is that we will be able to dedicate all of our time and effort to building NYC Type. That means a faster launch.
To aid us in any unexpected strategic or design/dev roadblocks, we have enlisted a small board of advisors (knowledgeable designers, photographers, and developers) to guide our steps.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)