This Free Typeface Helps Visualize the Effects of Climate Change

For text that melts at the speed of Arctic ice

Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest newspaper in the Nordics, worked with TBWA\Helsinki to create the Climate Crisis Font, a typeface that helps people visualize the need for urgent climate action. 

From a biological perspective, humans aren't wired to effectively address complex, long-term threats; they're too abstract, which is one reason (among many) we never seem able to tackle the climate crisis in a productive way. The font helps visualize one aspect of rapid climate change: Its varying weights exhibit the disappearance of Arctic sea ice from 1979 to 2050, using 1979-2019 data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and projections from the IPCC for 2020 to 2050.

"To leave no room for doubt, we used data based on satellite images. This way we were able to create one of the first data-based fonts ever," explains innovation director Juhana Hokkanen of TBWA\Helsinki. "The OpenType variable font mechanism allowed the design to follow the data perfectly. But we of course wanted to make the font usable for all platforms, so we also created the basic font types with a standard set of font weights."

Climate Crisis Font

Helsingin Sanomat used the Climate Crisis Font in a series of climate change articles that illustrate how climate crisis attitudes have changed over time. It also plans to use it in future articles covering the climate crisis and encourages others to do the same.

Download the typeface at TypetoAct.com.

"Our mission is to make complex matters comprehensible, and since seeing is believing, we wanted to bolster the conversations on climate change with something concrete and instantly understandable," says Tuomas Jääskeläinen, Helsingin Sanomat's art director. "These kinds of new methods of journalistic storytelling also complement our recent investments in data journalism. Yet, we don't just want to keep it to ourselves, which is why we are giving it out for free and hope to see it in use elsewhere as well."

In 2019, Helsingin Sanomat appointed a climate correspondent for climate change reporting. It also sent custom pens, with ink composed of carbon dioxide, to members of Finnish parliament and G20 leaders.

Last spring, during global coronavirus lockdowns, carbon dioxide emissions went down significantly, TBWA\Helsinki observes. And while emissions pretty much returned to normal levels by June, the agency hastens to point out that this proves we can make change when we act together, and quickly.

See more images below.

CREDITS

Client: Helsingin Sanomat

Niina Käkelä: Brand & Content Marketing Manager
Tuomas Jääskeläinen Art Director
Kaius Niemi: Editor-in-chief
Ville Vihermaa: Producer
Heidi Björklöf: VP, Portfolio development and Marketing

Agency: TBWA\ Helsinki

Jyrki Poutanen: Chief Creative Officer
Erno Reinikainen: Creative Director
Aki Toivonen: Creative Strategist
Matti Virtanen: Art Director
Martta Kallio: Senior Copywriter
Noora Murremäki: Executive Account Director
Rosa Kojonkoski: Project Manager
Juhana Hokkanen: Innovation Director
Sami Kelahaara: Senior Creative
Otto Kilpiö: Copywriter
Juhani Ylitalo: Copywriter
Pekko Pistokoski: Copywriter
Joonas Vähäkallio: Junior Art Director
Juha-Matti Raunio: Vice President, Innovations
Milla Leisti: Account Director
Umberto Onza: Lead Innovation Designer
Saana Simander: Comms & PR Specialist
Viggo Holländer: Digital Designer
Aleksi Pitkänen: Developer
Juho Ojala: Planner
Jesse Korhonen: Planner
Pekka Raittila: Developer
Jenni Karsten: Project Manager
Mikko Pietilä: Executive Creative Director
Erika Rajaharju: PR & Insights Trainee

Production agency: Skål Helsinki

Tuukka Laitinen: Motion Graphic Designer

Type Design

Eino Korkala: Type Designer
Daniel Coull: Type Designer

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Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is a founding contributor to Muse. She is also the co-founder of esports agency Hurrah.gg, and co-author of Generation Creation.

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