Typography and environmental problems

How type is engaged in raising awareness of environmental issues and (sometimes) even addresses them

December 19, 2023

1. Climate Crisis Font

Climate Crisis Font is a variable font based on Arctic sea ice data and forecasts provided by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The heaviest weight visualises how much ice there was back in 1979, while its lightest companion reveals how the ice is expected to shrink by 2050. Available on Google Fonts, the typeface supports extended Latin. It was commissioned in 2019 by Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and designed by Daniel Coull and Eino Korkala.





2. The Global Warming Typeface

The Global Warming Typeface also reflects the retreat of glaciers, yet it is not a variable font but an annually updated type family. There were five styles at the time of release and Stan Studios introduces another one every year, showing how many glaciers have melted since the last update. The font family costs 25 euro, with 50% of the paid amount being donated to the Climate Group.





3. The Endangered Typeface

Endangered Typeface, same as two previous fonts, is directly linked to a database — in this case, the IUCN Red List. The typeface comes in just one static style, with each letter representing one endangered species — the fewer the individuals, the lighter the letter. Each time the data gets updated, the font transforms (the only thing maintaining the same weight is punctuation). Endangered Typeface was commissioned by Wildlife World Fund The Russian Ministry of Justice listed WWF as an undesirable organisation and a foreign agent. The law requires us to tell you that even if we just want to share a font created to support the Fund in Portugal and designed by Bar Ogilvy agency.





4. Ecofont

Ecofont is an ink-saving tool that introduces small white dots to office fonts Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Times New Roman and Verdana just before printing. (You shouldn’t expect any support of new fonts — the project website and its social media pages have not been updated since 2020, yet you still can purchase this software).


5. Afvalbak

Type designer and author of our manual Anya Danilova is based in Hague. Together with her colleague Wilmar Grossouw, she decided to help local female activists deal with the people who don’t clean up after their pets. They created a series of large stencil lettering navigation pieces guiding people to the nearest trash bin (that’s actually the name of the project in Dutch) and activists sprayed paint using these stencils on the streets of the neighbourhood and later through the entire city.

Шрифтовой дизайнер и автор нашего справочника Аня Данилова живёт в Гааге, и вместе со своим коллегой Вилмаром Гроссау она решила помочь местным активисткам бороться с людьми, которые не убирают за своими домашними животными. Они сделали трафаретные указатели, которые ведут к ближайшим мусорным бакам (так и переводится названия проекта), а активистки нанесли их баллончиками на улицы района, а затем и всего города.



6. Formafantasma

Formafantasma studio have updated their website and it now only uses Arial and Times New Roman. Designers say that the visitors of their newly redesigned site consume less energy because their computers don’t need to make a request to a server to access other typefaces anymore — Arial and Times New Roman are standard default fonts on pretty much any machine.

7. Coastline typeface

The typeface was born from the initial caps of the book Coast to Coast Shore to Shore, an ABC book with each letter visualising one area affected by climate change. Designer Johan Elmehag used National Geographic data on how sea levels and coastlines would change if all the glaciers melt. Each letter represents one of these transformed locations. You can browse through the book and download the Coastline typeface on the designer’s personal website.