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Telling Stories With Type

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To celebrate 100 years of The Bartlett, we commissioned Colophon Foundry to create a custom typeface: 'Bartlett 100'.

Telling Stories With Type

The Bartlett 100 typeface is a core element of the campaign brand.

In 2018, we commissioned font foundry Colophon to create a custom typeface to mark The Bartlett’s 100th year. The brief was to create a distinctive display typeface that felt celebratory but challenging; that was progressive without being futuristic; and that was both accessible for a digital-first campaign and flexible – that it had the potential to be used a lot across multiple applications without getting boring. Above all, we said, it shouldn’t feel safe.

Edd Harrington, Co-founder of Colophon, says that the challenge led them to look into the notion of ‘radical’ and how this could be appropriated to a system. He says the concept became how “a single defined space would determine the stylistic qualities of the letterforms”. This led to the use of a ‘fixed pitch’ system where each letter occupies the same amount of space.

‘Fixed pitch’ or monospaced fonts are typically associated with computer programming. Colophon reappropriated what is usually a functional attribute to a display-orientated design, where the systemised approach of fixed width fonts creates an unusual relationship between forms.

“The challenge arose when designing these monospaced forms, due to uncomfortable moments where letter width and spacing create a conflicting balance. But it is these moments that give the font its essential character,” Harrington says. “A constant re-assessing of the fonts led to a great deal of conversation on the topic of accessibility for the end user, particularly in its digital application, and inclusivity, where we feel the font encompasses the spirit of The Bartlett’s key disciplines.”

The Bartlett is UCL's Faculty of the Built Environment, comprising 12 multidisciplinary schools, institutes and centres. Find out more:

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