The Iconic National Parks Typeface Has Been Digitized—and It's Free to Download
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).
[h/t Fast Company]