Art Director Designs Flooded Font to Call Attention to Climate Change

Garamond Warming contains a literal depiction of rising sea levels

Garamond Warming font
Garamond Warming is a free font designed to call attention to climate change. Yiğit Karagöz

As the coronavirus pandemic absorbs most of the news cycle, one German creative is hoping to make climate change a bigger part of that conversation with a clever font concept.

Yiğit Karagöz, a senior art director at agency Scholz & Friends in Hamburg, released a free downloadable font this week called Garamond Warming, a twist on a classic font style that’s meant to literally depict each of the characters being flooded. The design features letters with various degrees of solid color filling in their apertures—the typography term for the holes of white space partially or fully enclosed by the rest of the letter (e.g., the middle of an “O” or “U”).

Garamond Warming depicts each of the characters being flooded.

Karagöz said he conceived the use of a Garamond-style typeface, the origin of which dates all the way back to the very first printing presses of the early 16th century, as a form of design recycling. “That’s why I picked that one,” he said. “Then I tried to find a tweak to give it the impression that it’s drowning.”

He’s hoping that people will start to download and use the font on their own as a way to spread the message even further. In order to do that, he’s been promoting it on Instagram with real climate headlines recast in the font.

“It will be better when it spreads a lot because everyone could use it pretty easily,” said Karagöz. “Then it will serve as a tiny reminder to everyone that millions of people will be affected by this issue.”
Karagöz is promoting Garamond Warming on Instagram with real climate headlines recast in the font.

It’s not the first time Karagöz has sought to bring attention to climate change through typography. He previously released a font while at TBWA\Istanbul styled to resemble the signatures of various world leaders for the 2018 G20 Summit.

While Karagöz’s project seeks to keep up climate change discourse amid the pandemic, other campaigns have also used fonts to highlight and promote social distancing measures to fight the pandemic. Third Street Attention Agency recently designed a typeface called Times Uncertain, which features spaced-out letters meant to mimic the six feet of space public health agencies recommend people give one another to avoid viral spread.

Times Uncertain from Third Street Attention Agency features spaced-out letters to mimic social distancing.
@patrickkulp Patrick Kulp is an emerging tech reporter at Adweek.