Aerial Bold Kickstarter: The Planetary Search for Letterforms

A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to get funding and support to build a typeface from typography.


Aerial Bold is the first map and typeface of the earth. The project is literally about “reading” the earth for letterforms, or alphabet shapes, “written” into the topology of buildings, roads, rivers, trees and lakes. To do this, we will traverse the entire planet’s worth of satellite imagery and develop the tools and methods necessary to map these features hiding in plain sight. Find out more on Kickstarter.

Why Kickstarter?

Contrary to popular belief, much of the world has not been mapped. While satellites orbit around the earth taking thousands of images each day, we have limited idea about what unique features actually live on those photographs.

Aerial Bold is as much about developing new methods of mapping features on the earth’s surface, as it is about generating the first map and typeface of the planet. It is our intention to offer non-domain experts (e.g. artists, designers, citizen scientists etc.) a set of tools to source their own datasets and inspire people from all backgrounds to explore geographic data. The importance in kickstarting Aerial Bold is to showcase the creative and technical process of “making your own data”.

As a two-man army, we will be experimenting with “new” ways to train image processing algorithms to find geometric patterns and use these scalable methods to find the shapes of the alphabet over the entire earth.

On a small scale, such as in a community or small city, image processing tasks don’t pose a big challenge, however on a large scale (e.g. the entire earth or the entire US), the computational requirements can be paralyzing. This is why we’re asking for your help.

With your support we will be able to purchase dedicated computing/server space to run our satellite image based alphabet searching algorithm. The funding support will help keep the typeface, the maps and the alphabet metadata (e.g. geo-coordinates, address etc.) alive in cyberspace for people to download, use, view and explore.