A Journey Into Type, building a font in 72 hours.

4 min readDec 18, 2023

How I designed and built a functioning typeface for a data platform with a strong design ethos.

Typefaces can humanize or dehumanize a great brand

Nearly every single thing you see during the day is a form of type. Typography isn’t just about letters; it’s a powerful tool for brand differentiation and recognition (Nike, Apple, Google). It can often be a way to harmonize and humanize an entire entity.

Logos, Mantras, Marketing, and more. In a saturated market, a distinct typeface can set a brand apart, making it instantly recognizable. These brands often pull from brutalist graphic design theories typically thrown at typography in order to do this. This is more about the tangible impact typography has on brand awareness, influencing consumer perceptions and fostering a unique brand identity.

Photo by mahaan mehranii on Unsplash

Humanize by developing an original typeface by hand

The challenges of designing typography from scratch go beyond the technical aspects. How does this all marry to existing parts of an early brand already in development? What are the risks? Who is the competition? Who’s winning awards? From early sketching to a working product. I found it most efficient to just go at it, hit snags, and course-correct along the way. We took to early principles, WIP projects, and leading folks in the space. Be bold, 8bit, and flexible were ultimately guiding principles that helped lead to this direction.

Iterative development & research seems to work

I then hand drew (in Figma) and converted all uppercase lettering, numerics, and symbols to SVGs, ported into Glyphter, and then imported the .ttf back into Figma. I then created a system to work with our existing typefaces Monument Grotesk and Mono.

I took inspiration from the Olympics brand guide as they developed a great and scalable family of typefaces for different needs. The impact lies in the authenticity and uniqueness that hand-drawn lettering brings, creating a connection with audiences who appreciate the human touch behind the design.

Build in & for the public, but carefully

Embracing open-source typography is not just a community effort; it’s a strategic move with significant impact, much like a lot of folks in today’s market (Vercel being one of them). Collaborative font development not only enriches the design landscape but also provides businesses with cost-effective, professionally crafted typography. This section explores the substantial impact of open source on both design quality and accessibility.


The impact of understanding type creation end-to-end is profound for designers and businesses alike. It empowers designers to make informed choices, ensuring that the chosen typography aligns with brand goals and resonates effectively with the target audience. It’s fun, and challenging but ultimately the hardest part is scaling and legibility. I do wish I had more experience in terms of designing for proper and accessible ascenders, x-heights, and kerning when the typeface is in real-world use.

Photo by Sindy Süßengut on Unsplash

Spring forward, Fallback

While often overlooked, the impact of having a reliable typography fallback is immense. In the unpredictable digital space, where various platforms and devices come into play, a consistent fallback ensures that the brand message is delivered seamlessly. It’s a safeguard against potential disruptions, contributing to a positive user experience and reinforcing brand reliability.

I’ll be testing this over the coming weeks/months and hopefully opening it up to the public once ready.