Brand New aims to rehabilitate Chicago typeface with conference identity

US website Brand New is set to hold its annual conference in Chicago and has created an identity based on the Chicago typeface, used in Apple’s original Mac operating system.

Chicago is part of a family of fonts created by Susan Kare in 1984 for use on the Mac OS. Others are named after cities such as New York and Athens.

When Apple began to move away from bitmap fonts, Chicago was updated by Bigelow & Holmes, which created a smooth version of the original.

Brand New co-founder Armin Vit says, ‘The result could be considered one of the least appealing typefaces today, and Apple slowly swept it under the rug: first decommissioning it from its UI use and later leaving it out completely of the OS.’

Vit adds, ‘The double personality and the legacy of Chicago as a font in the Apple brand was very appealing [to us] and seemed like a good place to start exploring.’

The resulting identity uses a combination of the bitmap and smooth typefaces.

The pixelated pattern used in the branding is inspired, Vit says, by Christmas jumpers popular in the Midwest, while the concept of constantly moving strips of data – which can be seen on the conference website – is inspired by the Chicago Stock Exchange.

The supporting typeface is Monotype’s newly released Burlingame, which was developed for use of vehicle displays.

The Brand New Conference will be held in Chicago in September.

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