Chatype used everywhere from library to new downtown banners

Authored By Chloé Morrison

About a year after they began assembling to create a custom typeface for Chattanooga, the Chatype team has designed banners to highlight different downtown areas.

And the team-which is made up of Robbie de Villiers, Jeremy Dooley, DJ Trischler and Jonathan Mansfield-hope Chatype is the beginning of discussions about the city’s branding, Trischler said.

Less than a year after the group came together and participated in the 48-Hour Launch and started raising money via Kickstarter, the typeface is being used everywhere from The Public Library to the city’s website.

“48-Hour Launch went really well,” Trischler said. “It was really affirming for us and encouraged us to keep moving forward because people saw it and they got it. The seed was definitely planted, and people were excited.”

Chatype is a typeface, which is a group of fonts. The team designed it specifically for Chattanooga.

It is the first custom-based typeface in the United States that has been created for a municipality, and-as far as the creators understand-it is the first crowd-funded, custom-made typeface for a city anywhere in the world, Mansfield said.

Their Kickstarter campaign raised nearly $11,500, and the goal was $10,000.

That isn’t enough to cover all the costs. Typeface is like software. It has to be licensed, which costs money. But the Kickstarter funding gave the team the ability to move forward with the project.

“We knew that if we went to the city, it would never happen,” Trischler said. “That’s nothing against the city. It’s just a new idea, and no other city in America has accomplished this.”

Now, the team is a month or so away from having their typeface displayed throughout downtown on banners that identify different sections of the area, such as the Southside.

River City Company contracted the team to design banners that will go up soon downtown.

The goal is to have the new banners-which will replace those that currently say “Chattanooga happens downtown”-up sometime in October, Kim White, president of River City Company, said.

“We are very excited about it,” she said about Chatype. “It’s one of the things that makes Chattanooga unique. And I still don’t think a lot of people know about it.”

The banners are brightly colored and will go up around the same time that River City’s way-finding signs go up, White said.

The Chattanooga Public Library is using Chatype for everything from signage at the end of book stacks to fliers that leaders distribute to the public, Executive Director Corinne Hill said.

Hill especially loves Chatype because she has always been fascinated with typeface and fonts, she said.

She’s a self-proclaimed “label-maker girl.” She’s very visual and judgmental of fonts and typefaces, she said.

So, a Chattanooga-centric font that helps brand the library buildings and direct visitors to their favorite books makes Hill happy.

“The idea of having a city font just soothes my soul,” she said. “I think it’s the coolest thing.”