(Photo courtesy of R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)
The first slate of fonts from PHLOpenType, a collective push to create Philly-inspired typefaces, is now live.
Under a pay-what-you-wish model, you can now download and use fonts inspired by Old City, Callowhill, Point Breeze and Queen Village, with all proceeds going to local institutions like the Fleisher Art Memorial, PAWS and the KIND Institute.
It’s the first in a series of fonts to be released over the coming months. Thirteen teams of Philly designers, rallied together in the fabled PHLDesign Slack, are working on different fonts inspired by places like Manayunk, Center City, Fishtown and Mt. Airy.
“I was really lucky to have so many talented designers interested in the project,” said designer Phil Buckley, a Philly UX designer at PHL Design Co. who started PHLOpenType and coordinated the effort. “They all created great work that really celebrates the respective neighborhoods they worked on. This is just the beginning and I’m really excited to see this project grow.”
Here’s the first lineup of fonts:
Callowhill was inspired by the neighborhood’s railroad history (the nabe once boasted a locomotive manufacturing hub). Designer Mike Balcerzak said the process of making a font was “incredibly hard” and led him to have a “greater appreciation for anyone who puts out a free or donationware font.”
Designer Kosal Sen made three weights for his Old City font, modeled after the Bourse building: Bourse Regular, Bourse Bold, and Bourse Chiseled.
Easy, breezy, beautiful. Point Breeze Block Party was Buckley’s pet project. The Point Breeze resident said the font was inspired by the “warmth and welcoming nature of neighbors” and the overall vibe of what it means to be a part of Point Breeze.
Vasa pays homage to the Swedish roots of Queen Village, a neighborhood named after the royal house of Queen Christina.
Buckley was recently a guest on the Hi-Res Podcast, hosted by designer Ryan Starr, where he shared more insight on the process of designing the set of Philly fonts with a social impact purpose.
“I felt if he’d just taken the time, there could be something there,” Buckley said of the controversial first set of fonts made by designer Cliff Ross that inspired the project.
Buckley said the project opened his eyes to the challenges of working with typography and the intricacies of coordinating the delivery of a volunteer-based project.
“It’s like hearding cats,” Buckley admits.