PHL OpenType is a growing collective of Philadelphia based designers seizing an opportunity to design for good while showing their love for the city they live in. Designers have volunteered to design a typeface inspired by various neighborhoods. Designer’s reasons for choosing those areas has varied from where they live currently, to what area they are from, to areas they want to explore further. The typefaces themselves look to celebrate all facets of life in the specific areas and provide viable typefaces for others to use on their own projects. These typefaces will then become available on a “Pay What You Can” price model with proceeds going directly to the neighborhoods they are designed after. The goal is to get a typeface for every neighborhood and have everyone represented in this project.
As a new resident of Point Breeze in 2017, I found that this project was the perfect opportunity to learn more about the neighborhood and meet new people from the area. My goal for the typeface was to match the feeling of what it was like to be apart of the community. It started with simply taking pictures of local businesses and actually looking up information about the history of the area. While that helped me get started, it really wasn’t giving me anything I could take and turn into a theme that worked.
As time passed I was going for walks and meeting my neighbors and local business owners, I quickly started seeing how tight knit, warm and inclusive my neighborhood was. In the warmer months, I always hear kids playing outside and everyone always says hello when you pass them by on the Point Breeze Ave. That warm and welcoming feeling was what I have been looking for. It was a feeling that I never really got from the street I grew up on out in the suburbs. In just 6-8 months I felt like Point Breeze was home, and I wanted other people to know what an amazing place it was.
Making the typeface evoke a certain feeling was way easier than trying to fully articulate a neighborhood. Further to that point, coming into this as an outsider to the community, there is only so much that my experience can truly bring. My intention was to have the typeface feel light and welcoming and feel like something that can literally celebrate being in Point Breeze.
Point Breeze Block Party, this design was the one I showed where everyone felt connected to it in some way. It reminds people that there are still families that have lived here longer than its been a place that needed gentrifying.
The first phase of this project was able to raise 400 dollars in total for 4 separate causes around the city. PHLOpentype is taking a step back in 2019, with plans to roll out a more impactful campaign in the future.