Write Your Name Using Satellite Images of Streets and Warehouses

This new crowd-funded typewriter app is epic.

byWill Sabel Courtney|
Write Your Name Using Satellite Images of Streets and Warehouses

It's the biggest thing in fonts since, well, whatever the last big thing in fonts was. The Aerial Bold Project's Typewriter app, which just launched to the public this month, renders text as cropped images taken from satellite photos. A highway cloverleaf becomes an "B," a racetrack becomes an "O," a warehouse block a "H," etcetera. Each letter offers myriad choices, so if you don't like the picture it provides, you can flip through the litany of overhead shots and choose manually. You can also limit the pictures to a certain area. Try to find a BMW office in Munich, or maybe a nice mountain road in Japan. And, should one of the photo-letters catch your eye, a quick click is all it takes to show you where in the world it was snapped.

Should you grow bored of writing notes out of structures like an infrastructural god, the Typewriter app also offers a choice of three actual fonts based on the project's research. There's one where the letters look like buildings, one where they resemble suburban subdivisions, and one where they're made out of tree tops from Provence.

The Aerial Bold Project grew out of a 2014 Kickstarter by designer Benedikt Groß and geographer Joey Lee, who saw the potential to use satellite images to create words. Over the course of the last year, the duo—along with some crowd-sourced help—virtually scoured the globe for images that could be used as letters, then refined the candidates down by clarity and aesthetic appeal until they had a final alphabet.

If you're interested, you can read all about the history of the Aerial Bold Project on its website. Or, come September, you can check out ABC: The Alphabet from the Sky, a book of their works.