FF Chartwell Web in use on the Materials Council website
The ethical design agency Zerofee recently created the visual identity and website for the Materials Council in the UK. As part of the design of the website they implemented Travis Kochel’s groundbreaking FF Chartwell Web font to playfully display and illustrate data.
We caught up with Paul Buck, co-founder of Zerofee to out more about the project and their choice of typeface ...
Can you give a bit of background to the work you did for the Materials Council? What was the original brief that you were given? And what led you to choose FF Chartwell Web?
Materials Council commissioned Zerofee to design their visual identity and various associated materials for their launch in 2012, followed by their website.
We collaboratively devised a brief to develop a visual language that would feel both technical and creative, combining a sense of scientific precision with playful elements, to appeal to their client base of architects and manufacturers. The resulting visual identity lead us to explore bold, colourful infographics to help illustrate what might otherwise be quite dry data about material uses and characteristics. FF Chartwell was chosen in order to help us do this – to display beautiful, modern charts and graphs that brought colour to the website and indicate Materials Council’s understanding and love of every detail of their subject. The webfont was launched quite late during our development and, following some experimentation, it seemed clear that we could use it to display scalable, content managed data from the site CMS, instead of the SVG, predetermined set of graphics we’d set out to develop with it. Materials Council can now add new data sets with simple markup, select an appropriate font from the FF Chartwell family and have it mix in randomly with the sets displayed on the site's homepage.
How did you find working with FF Chartwell?
Great! It was easy to install and to control and style on the site with our markup/CSS.
We’ve also used FF Chartwell in print for another client, both in the form of ‘classic’ graphs and charts, but also as an illustrative element. As many of our clients are non-profit, charitable or young companies, FF Chartwell has helped us economically produce good-looking information where budgets and time are tight.
One of the founding principles of Zerofee is to work for ethical and responsible brand and organisations and to donate design work to worthy causes. What has been the most rewarding pro-bono work that you have done? Who would be your ideal ethical client?
One of the most rewarding pro-bono projects we’ve done is the one we’re currently doing (and bringing to a conclusion soon) for @artsemergency. Arts Emergency are working to protect arts education here in the UK in the face of government policy that has increased the cost of education to a level beyond the reach of many prospective students. We'll soon be launching their visual identity and website.
There’s no one ideal ethical client for us, but we do already work for one of those that we'd include in an ‘ideal’ list – Global Witness. Global Witness’s work and objectives are a close fit with our own philosophies and they have a great attitude and open mind about the role of graphic design in supporting their campaigns, which we're very pleased to be helping them with.
Zerofee is an ethical design agency based in London. They create, design and implement visual identities and print and digital media for companies who are ethical and responsible. Besides their commercial work they are committed to donating design time to charities and worthy causes.