The Iconic National Parks Typeface Has Been Digitized—and It's Free to Download

Trail sign at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
Trail sign at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
iStock.com/Adam-Springer

National parks in Michigan, Hawaii, and Colorado may have different landscapes, but there are design elements that tie them together. One example is the National Park Service's iconic typeface; whether you're hiking through Acadia or Zion, the wooden signs that guide your trek are etched with the same simple lettering. Now the distinct look is available as a downloadable font, Fast Company reports.

Jeremy Shellhorn got the idea to digitize the typeface while working as the designer-in-residence for Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado in 2013. He wanted to feature it in the park's official newspaper, but he couldn't find a digital version. That's because the messages on National Parks signs don't use a specific font: Rather, they're carved into the wood with a CNC (computer numerical control) router, which gives each letter the same clean, even lines and rounded edges.

An associate professor of design at the University of Kansas, Shellhorn worked with his students to create a font based on pencil rubbings of National Park signs. It's now available online in three outlines—light, regular, heavy—and free to download under the SIL Open Font License (though Shellhorn does accept donations to fund website hosting and pro bono design projects he does for parks).

Compared to similar projects, a font based on National Parks trail signs doesn't sound that unusual. Albert Einstein's handwriting and Prince's love symbol are also available as downloadable fonts.

[h/t Fast Company]

Decorate Your Walls With This Poster of Every Single Character From The Office

Pop Chart Labs
Pop Chart Labs

NBC’s The Office will celebrate its 15th anniversary next year, and fans remain as engaged as ever in the characters who made the show a success. With this poster from Pop Chart, you can show off your own fondness for the show’s beloved cast of personalities.

The print by itself sells for $40, but various finishing options make it a little more expensive. Pop Chart’s poster features 171 different “Faces of Scranton”—plus 16 “Threat Level Midnight” characters and six of Michael Scott’s alter egos—all of which include biographical information like job titles, nicknames, and relationship details.


Pop Chart Labs

Pop Chart’s “Faces of Scranton” print comes just in time for the holidays. If you’re looking for other pop culture-themed gifts for your friends and relatives (or for yourself!), check out this list of 12 products for people who can’t get enough of The Office.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Hellvetica Is the Typeface of Your Nightmares

Zephyr18/iStock via Getty Images
Zephyr18/iStock via Getty Images

If you spot a slack-jawed graphic designer staring at their computer screen with an expression of horror, they haven’t just seen a ghost—they’ve seen Hellvetica.

Though the terrible typeface is meant as a Halloween-themed take on the traditionally pleasing Helvetica, it doesn’t contain jagged edges, dripping blood, or any other characteristically spooky elements you might imagine.

Instead, it’s just really poorly spaced. In typography, the process of adjusting the space between letters is called kerning. While you probably peruse materials typed in well-kerned fonts without thinking about letter spacing at all, sloppy kerning can make things pretty difficult to read.

According to The Verge, the deliberate kerning catastrophe that is Hellvetica was masterminded by New York-based creative directors Zack Roif and Matthew Woodward, who may have just become the graphic design industry’s first supervillains.

“Kern in hell,” the website states, along with “Welcome to type purgatory,” and “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog and into the underworld,” all typed in the visually abhorrent Hellvetica.

It also features a fake quote from the Swiss creator of Helvetica, Max Miedinger, who died in 1980 and is undoubtedly rolling in his grave. “What have you done?” he supposedly said.

However, it did pique the interest of the diabolical founder of hell itself.

“I don’t hate it,” Satan said.

If you want to partake in the pandemonium by typing in Hellvetica this Halloween or forever, you can download it here.

[h/t The Verge]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER