The following video is a presentation from the Chatype typeface designers, Robbie de Villiers and Jeremy Dooley, about the origin and direction behind Chatype. This was originally presented at a community forum in Chattanooga.
When Robbie de Villiers and Jeremy Dooley met in the Fall of 2011, they both had a similar vision: a typeface developed uniquely and exclusively for Chattanooga, TN. They kicked the idea around and decided the time was right to make the first moves. So, in November, they presented the idea at a local entrepreneurship event, quickly formed a team, and laid the first tracks for this initiative.
Why a typeface for Chattanooga?
Growing, active, alive with business and industry, yet surrounded by mountains and rivers, this city champions beauty and fosters community. Chattanooga boasts a burgeoning design community, a music scene that's playing some fierce catch-up, and a culture of entrepreneurship that's gaining national attention. With around 500,000 people, Chattanooga is at that right developmental stage to adopt and embrace a strong, city-wide visual identity.
You've just seen a video about the dynamics of typefaces and the profound way they can embody, promote, and compliment the identity of a great city. You understand. Nevermind the fact that we're the city with the first and only aquarium to successfully breed sea-dragons...doesn't that warrant a typeface?
A note from Robbie and Jeremy: "As we currently envision, the font will be available without cost exclusively to Chattanooga. We hope to see the font used for the city website as a webfont, for city-associated signage, brochures, logotypes, and even private enterprise projects with a Chattanooga focus. We anticipate creating four weights, and style sets would allow unique font customizations for each district and major subsection of the Chattanooga metropolitan area, giving each area its own unique identity while still being part of the whole of Chattanooga."
So, what are we really Kickstarting this for?
This project is an opportunity to bring Chattanoogans and creatives into the process, creating a bigger story than just a typeface.
We have two goals. First, we want our precious city, beautiful Chattanooga, to have its own typeface. It's an honor Chattanooga has earned and a reflection of the ways this city is shaping up to be a national leader, even if Chattanooga is a bit of a younger sibling. Second, we want Chattanooga to be the poster child for municipal branding in America. Many European cities commission a custom typeface and use it to set themselves apart. If you've ever traveled abroad, you've noticed how signage in different regions seems to really pop - because it's unique and communicates something new on that route. In America, a similar movement is beginning. Chattanooga can spark the typographic revolution!
A typographic revolution?
Consider this: in being unique, we are common. Chattanooga is dynamic, unique, forward-thinking, and technologically strong, which means we have peers. Chattanooga is not alone in embracing the cutting edge of technology and the power of design. Typography has long been the foundation of design, but typography provides therein a greater foundation. As you heard in the video above, all great cities have character, and Chattanooga is leading her peers in valuing this element in a city's identity. Through this Kickstarter, we want to give America a chance to value this work. Design is more than eye-candy. While there is bad design out there, design is function and design is identity. In the words of Jane Jacobs, "Design is people."
So, we put the question to you. We could have tried to raise $25,000 to implement this typeface. We could have asked for $30,000 to pay for all the talent represented in this initiative. But we don't have to for the community - locally and nationally - to show its support.
What's it worth to you, America? How highly do you value your cities and what they stand for? How important could this be for where you live? Help Chattanooga make history. Help set a new bar in American municipal branding.
Thank you for checking out this project. We hope you'll join us in bringing something new to our city and our country.