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The National Parks’ iconic typeface has never been digitized–until now #ArtTuesday

2 the national parks typeface

Designer and professor Jeremy Shellhorn’s Design Outside Studio, takes on design projects in Rocky Mountain National Park, via FastCompany

If you’ve ever been to a National Park, chances are you’ve come across signage with the same distinctive lettering. The type, which features rounded edges carved into wood in all caps, has become an icon of the National Parks system.

But it turns out that this text isn’t an actual typeface, as information designer Jeremy Shellhorn discovered when he was working as designer-in-residence at Rocky Mountain National Park in 2013.

Shellhorn, who was on sabbatical from his current job as an associate professor of design at the University of Kansas, was redesigning the park’s newspaper and wanted to include the type found on National Park signs. But he soon discovered there was no digital typeface because the letters are simply formed with a CNC router in the park’s sign shop, chiseled into wood. The shape of the letters were determined by the size of the router bit.

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