This ‘Climate Crisis Font’ Shrinks as the Ice Caps Melt

By | January 14, 2021

Climate change is happening. And it’s predicted to happen even more rapidly unless major polluting economies, and the people living within them, curb their planet-heating habits quickly.

To raise awareness of the need for change Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and frequent agency partner TBWAHelsinki has created a free-to-download font that can be size-adjusted on a sliding scale that reflects the pace of global warming.

Seeing is believing [so] we wanted to bolster the conversations on climate change with something… instantly understandable

Tuomas Jääskeläinen, Helsingin Sanomat art director

The “The Climate Crisis Font” typeface, available via this link, was developed in collaboration with type designers Eino Korkala and Daniel Coull and can be adjusted on a scale that corresponds with Arctic sea ice data from 1979 to 2019 and the IPCC’s prediction for its decline up to 2050.

It is designed to be a more tangible and visual way to communicate climate change because, Helsingin Sanomat said, humans “have been wired to react more to the threats we can easily observe.”

The concept is explained more in the digital video below, which has been released as part of the campaign.

“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,” said Tuomas Jääskeläinen, art director for Helsingin Sanomat.

The newspaper recently used the font in a collection of articles focused on climate change and intends to use it in future environmental projects.

“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,” Jääskeläinen added.

In 2019, with the help of TBWAHelsinki, Helsingin Sanomat delivered a “climate pen” with ink derived from carbon dioxide gas to G20 heads of state ahead of the 2019 U.N. Climate Action Summit to urge concrete action.

And the year before, it welcomed Donald Trump with a series of provocative, targeted outdoor ads timed with the Helsinki summit, attended by world leaders.

“Mr. President, welcome to the land of press freedom,” said one of the ads. Other ads displayed headlines of stories written by the paper about Trump, which criticized his record on press freedom.

In May 2020, TBWAHelsinki created a newspaper social distancing ad for Helsingin Sanomat that cleverly could only be read from six feet away—the recommended minimum distance people should observe to avoid catching or transmitting Covid-19.