Local designers are banding together to make fonts that ‘celebrate’ Philly

When a blight-inspired North Philly font blazed up Twitter, designer Phil Buckley did something about it. Meet PHLOpenType.

It's a font-off! (Photo by Flickr user DaveBleasdale, under a Creative Commons license)

A blight-inspired font called “North Philly” that blazed up Twitter last week also lit a fire inside designer Phil Buckley.

The font, made by designer agency Cliff Ross, was part of a batch of 10 typefaces named after Philly areas like Brewerytown, Manayunk. Amid a slew of negative feedback, the North Philly font was taken down.

Buckley then rallied together 11 members from the local design community around an effort called PHLOpenType, a collective that will aim to make fonts that “look to celebrate all facets of life” in Philly neighborhoods and donate all proceeds to nonprofits.

“I wanted to make sure that, if you’re going to do a project like that, there should be a lot of care put into it,” said Buckley, a Comcast UX designer who also does work for PHL Design Co.

The project is currently working on a batch of six fonts named after Point Breeze, Mt. Airy, Manyunk, Newbold, Fairhill and Temple. Although the specific causes are still being selected, the typefaces will be made available under a a “Pay What You Can” price model, with proceeds going to the neighborhoods they are designed after. The first batch of fonts, the designer said, are currently being developed.

“It’s a hard time for people trying to give back,” said Buckley. “Hopefully we can make some impact for areas around the city using our skill set.”

Those interested in joining the effort can contact Buckley by emailing phil (at)


Knowledge is power!

Subscribe for free today and stay up to date with news and tips you need to grow your career and connect with our vibrant tech community.


'We are just trying to survive, which is different from living': Afghan refugee Ghulam Danish on his journey toward thriving

RealLIST Engineers 2023: Meet 15 of Philly’s most impactful technologists right now

4 tips for strategic financial planning, from cash flow to tax credits

NASA’s Mars rovers could inspire a more ethical future for AI

Technically Media