One Way is a typeface based on sticky tape Covid signage

In the wake of an influx of hastily improvised warning messages, often made with strips of tape, Intercity has released a typeface inspired by these makeshift signs

“Graphic designers always look out for interesting examples of ‘found’ design, but there is something extra special, and relevant, about this new graphic language that has appeared over the past few months,” says Intercity creative director, and former CR art director, Nathan Gale.

“I think it’s the bold, graphic shapes made from brightly coloured or chevroned 2-inch tape – combined with the heavily textured and well-worn flooring that it’s being stuck to. The contrast makes for striking visuals that I imagine designers all over the world have been documenting.”

Typeface One Way is Intercity’s response to this phenomenon, with the project getting started after Gale snapped an image of tape pasted over herringbone brick pavement. Developing the design meant striking a balance between consistent letterforms, and shapes that maintain a “handmade aesthetic”.

Gale says the studio first created a grid, then digitally drew every character before committing them to tape. Some letters, such as the G and A, have stylistic alternates, and Intercity also created a set of eight oversized arrows – to reflect on the many pictures they’d collected of these in tape, out in the wild.

One Way is first and foremost a display face, and aimed mainly at shorter words being used at larger sizes – potentially paired with more elegant type. “The typeface obviously references a graphic language that is now associated with the pandemic, but its use can be far wider,” explains Gale.

 “At a time when lockdown has given many people the opportunity to try new things and spend time ‘making’ at home, a handmade typeface seems fitting for the situation we currently find ourselves in.”

One Way is available for free, via Intercity.