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Chipotle’s brand has a very recognizable style, especially when it comes to typography. Their style lends itself to a very hand drawn sort of look. After speaking with my design mentor, French, he noted that most of the type on the bags are actually hand drawn designs. This does make every design authentic, but it also doesn’t allow other designers to mimic the look and feel on the fly. One of creative services designers, Yanna Rabinkova had started hand drawing and vectorizing type in an Illustrator file. This file could then be used for pulling letters and building out typographic designs. French decided that this process could be speed up if a typeface was built out of these vectorized letters. This is where the project was handed off to me to explore.
For this project, I was required to learn a program called Glyphs. This program allows you to upload vectorized images in order to build a typeface. Considering that Yanna had already sketched out the alphabet, it was up to me to build the rest of the typeface. My job was to create all the numbers and punctuation. I cut up some of her letters in order to make my characters. I felt that using similar shapes would help create consistency within the typeface. I then used a type program called Glyphs to lay out the type face – this program gives you a blank template that you can upload vectors into. This is where you start laying out your base lines, x-heights descenders, ascenders and so on. The hardest part was the kerning pairs – this was a very tedious task and gave me even more appreciation for type designers. I literally went through every possible kerning pair. After many test exports, I was able to land a consistent typeface. I named it “BIG CHIP” to reflect its bold nature and connection to Chipotle.
To be honest, the final typeface turned out better than I had expected. This project helped me learn a new program, while also building an understanding of how complicated and intricate typography can be. There are little things you don’t consider about type that really come to light when you take on such a project. Consistency is a very important aspect to consider when building a typeface. The littlest thing can make a typeface look off and it is important to develop an eye for these intricacies. My favorite part about building this typeface is seeing it in context. The creative team started using it almost right away, and the results turned out very well. The next couple pages show examples of how the typeface was utilized for Chipotle’s most recent Hospitality Summit.