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Road markings become digital typography

O Street typography

The words are carefully written with molten plastic

To create the typeface for its new visual identity, Scottish design firm O Street (opens in new tab) has worked with a road-lining company to produce a one-of-a-kind wordmark. Channeling the craft of calligraphy and other handwriting fonts (opens in new tab), this typeface was carefully made out of molten thermoplastic and has been adapted to use as one of their web fonts (opens in new tab).

O Street font

The road marking font in all its glory

Road-lining expert Thomas Lilley from Markon (opens in new tab) was the steady hand behind this unique typeface. By digitizing the lettering, O Street hope to capture the quirks and idiosyncracies that are inherent in a hand written wordmark.

Just like regular roadmarks, the lettering was chalked out on the asphalt to provide a guideline. Thomas then drew the full alphabet freehand with a molten plastic that left no room for error. Written with a material reaching 180 degrees C, could this be the hottest typography out there?

The creation process is as interesting as the font itself, with Thomas adding that "seeing a master road-liner at work brings to mind a Japanese calligrapher or a Renaissance painter's apprentice".

A mini-documentary was produced alongside the release of the font which details Thomas' career. If nothing else these oddly soothing videos will make you appreciate road markings a lot more.

Blocky, textured, and sans-serifed, this font finds the sweet spot between being both individual and legible. With its scuffs, bumps and ripples, this letterform is sure to find a few fans amongst typographers.

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Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.