Climate Crisis font spelled out, with variable axis slider moving back and forth to show different weight.

Show your type melting over time like a glacier with Climate Crisis and its Year axis

As mentioned in the recent article about the Tilt family, Google Fonts is adding a bunch of new expressive variable fonts and axes to the library. Check out the latest release, Climate Crisis.

Climate Crisis, with its new variable axis called Year, was commissioned by the Nordic newspaper “Helsingin Sanomat” to use in its own editorial and marketing. It visualizes the urgency of climate change by appearing to degrade over time, like each character is a glacier melting away. More than just a metaphor, the font reflects actual data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center to represent the levels of Arctic sea ice from 1979 to 2019. Satellite measuring began in 1979. Predictive data from the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is used to visualize the ice melting through 2050.

The typeface’s designers, Daniel Coull and Eino Korkala included eight masters for the Year axis. (When type designers create a variable font, they need to embed masters at each extreme end of a variable axis, but often they embed multiple masters along the axis in order to give the in-between instances more finesse.) The heaviest weight represents the Arctic sea ice in 1979,. The lightest weight represents the IPCC’s 2050 forecast, when only 30% of the ice will remain.

An arrow pointing downwards from 1979 to 2050

The 1979 and 2050 Climate Crisis masters

Eight rows of the words “Climate” in different weights, from heaviest (1979) to lightest 2050

Eight masters of the Climate Crisis font

Eight masters were embedded in the Climate Crisis font, which correspond to Arctic sea ice data and predictions for 1979, 1990, 2000, 2010, 2019, 2030, 2040, and 2050.

Since its release, Climate Crisis has been added to Cooper Hewitt Design Museum’s permanent collection and received multiple awards, including The Grand Prix at Eurobest 2021.

Climate Crisis supports 240 languages, but as an open source design, anyone can design additional characters. Eunyou Noh & Joohee Lee at NohType have designed 2780 Korean Hangul characters, which can be previewed here.

Try out the year axis and download Climate Crisis on Google Fonts. Read the full story of its design on the specimen site.