The Iconic National Parks Typeface Has Been Digitized—and It's Free to Download

Trail sign at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
Trail sign at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
iStock.com/Adam-Springer

National parks in Michigan, Hawaii, and Colorado may have different landscapes, but there are design elements that tie them together. One example is the National Park Service's iconic typeface; whether you're hiking through Acadia or Zion, the wooden signs that guide your trek are etched with the same simple lettering. Now the distinct look is available as a downloadable font, Fast Company reports.

Jeremy Shellhorn got the idea to digitize the typeface while working as the designer-in-residence for Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado in 2013. He wanted to feature it in the park's official newspaper, but he couldn't find a digital version. That's because the messages on National Parks signs don't use a specific font: Rather, they're carved into the wood with a CNC (computer numerical control) router, which gives each letter the same clean, even lines and rounded edges.

An associate professor of design at the University of Kansas, Shellhorn worked with his students to create a font based on pencil rubbings of National Park signs. It's now available online in three outlines—light, regular, heavy—and free to download under the SIL Open Font License (though Shellhorn does accept donations to fund website hosting and pro bono design projects he does for parks).

Compared to similar projects, a font based on National Parks trail signs doesn't sound that unusual. Albert Einstein's handwriting and Prince's love symbol are also available as downloadable fonts.

[h/t Fast Company]

$1.6 Billion in $50 Bills in Australia Were Printed With a Typo

PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images
PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images

Australia's $50 banknote is filled with details; there are so many of them that it's hard to spot the typo that slipped onto the face of the bill. But if you know where to look, you'll see the spelling error that the treasury failed to catch before printing it on millions of pieces of currency.

According to CNN, the $50 bill, worth about $34.90 in U.S money, debuted in October 2018. It features Edith Cowan, Australia's first female member of parliament, with her inaugural speech to the Western Australian Parliament typed out in microprint above her shoulder. The words are hard to read, but in the zoomed-in image below you can see the word that's supposed to read responsibility in the second line is mistakenly spelled responsibilty. The bill also features innovative security features, such as holographic design elements, but the typo snuck by unnoticed.

The misspelled word was printed on 400 million banknotes, 46 million of which are currently in circulation. Altogether, the misprinted currency in circulation totals A$2.3 billion, or US$1.6 billion.

Australia's treasury plans to keep the bills in circulation and correct the error when the next batch of $50 banknotes is printed sometime in the next few months. Other typos of this scale have resulted in major consequences: In 1962, a missing hyphen in some computer code caused a satellite to explode, costing NASA $80 million.

[h/t CNN]

3D ‘Zebra Crossing’ Crosswalk Is Making Pedestrians in North London Safer

iStock.com/olaser
iStock.com/olaser

Cities around the world are improving upon the classic crosswalk. In Ahmedabad, India and Medford, Massachusetts, drivers are now confronted with 3D crosswalks painted on the asphalt. As Londonist reports, North London—home to perhaps the most iconic zebra crossing of all time—is the latest place to experiment with the new design.

The innovative crosswalks use an optical illusion to make roads safer for pedestrians. Instead of showing conventional flat stripes, the blocks in these crossings are painted with additional, shaded shapes around them, giving them the appearance of 3D objects raised from the ground.

The change is meant to get drivers' attention and encourage them to slow down before they reach the pedestrian crossing. Installing 3D crosswalks is a cheap and simple improvement, and it can potentially save lives.

The new crosswalk outside Barrow Hill Junior School in North London's St. John's Wood neighborhood uses this same trick. It's located around the corner from the place where The Beatles's Abbey Road album cover was shot. That's one crosswalk that likely won't be redesigned anytime soon, but luckily the hordes of tourists taking pictures there makes it easy to spot.

The new crosswalk is the first of its kind in the UK. After a nine- to 12-month trial run, London will consider installing the safety feature throughout the borough of Westminster.

[h/t Londonist]

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