Change

The only constant.

Designed by Alessio Leonardi, Change is an unconventional typeface with many peculiar details that is open to the new and embodies change.

22 Styles
Rag
Change Hairline
Rag
Change Hairline Italic
Rag
Change Thin
Rag
Change Thin Italic
Rag
Change ExtraLight
Rag
Change ExtraLight Italic
Rag
Change Light
Rag
Change Light Italic
Rag
Change Regular
Rag
Change Italic
Rag
Change Medium
Rag
Change Medium Italic
Rag
Change SemiBold
Rag
Change SemiBold Italic
Rag
Change Bold
Rag
Change Bold Italic
Rag
Change ExtraBold
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Change ExtraBold Italic
Rag
Change Black
Rag
Change Black Italic
Rag
Change ExtraBlack
Rag
Change ExtraBlack Italic

‘A benchmark in humanist type design’ — Proof&Co. The Weekly 39, 2022

Artwork to showcase the Change typeface
Artwork to showcase the Change typeface

Artwork to showcase the Change typeface
Artwork to showcase the Change typeface

Artwork to showcase the Change typeface
Artwork to showcase the Change typeface
Artwork to showcase the Change typeface
Change Variable Fonts

Story

On 11 March 2008, the Governing Mayor of Berlin presented the brand new city marketing campaign for Berlin. Entitled “Be Berlin”, it was intended to publicize the many facets of the capital both nationally and internationally in order to attract more companies and visitors to the city.

The driving force of the campaign were three interchanging one-liners, set in the custom designed font “Change”. Its name says it all: Berlin is changing, and the world should know about it. For 12 years, Change served as the city’s brand typeface. Now Change is finally allowed to unfold its potential – optimized and expanded – for the benefit of all brands and projects that are in need of renewal or quite simply a change.

At the start of the image campaign, the Senate invested eleven million euros to establish the motto “Be Berlin” and to improve citizens’ identification with their city. From 2009 onwards, “Be Berlin” was drummed up throughout Germany and then in 50 different countries.

As is usual with large-scale marketing campaigns in Germany, this particular initiative was also accompanied by some grumbling and at times a rather negative reaction. The market research institute Forsa suggested that the motto was not accepted by Berliners because they did not understand it. The Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit was also awarded the “Language Prankster of the Year” for the campaign. Agencies filed complaints, ranging from accusations of plagiarism to charges of nepotism. The German Taxpayers Federation also named the campaign as a “waste of taxpayers’ money” in its “Black Book 2008”.

Yet, “Be Berlin” remained the official slogan of the capital up until 2020. The follow-up campaign “Wir sind ein Berlin” (We are one Berlin) has not caught on in the city, even after two years, which demonstrates that a lot went right with “Be Berlin”. It comes as no surprise, as the original initiative was spearheaded by a number of top agencies including Embassy, Fuenfwerken, WE DO communication and a number of others. It was also supported by committed local institutions such as Berlin Partner, Goethe Institute and Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and was co-financed by many well-known and well-established companies such as Bayer, Pfizer, BMW, Siemens, to name a few.

One of countless brochures published by the Berlin Senate using Change

One of countless brochures published by the Berlin Senate

But the figures speak even more clearly for the success of the campaign. From 2008 to 2019, the number of overnight stays in Berlin rose from 17.8 to 34.1 million (+ 92 percent, almost a doubling). The number of taxable businesses rose from 133 thousand to 168 thousand (+ 28 percent) in the same period. The city’s gross domestic product rose from 99 billion euros to 157 billion (+ 59 percent). And the city’s population grew from 3.43 million to 3.67 million (+ 7 percent) within the twelve years of the launch of the campaign.

Today, Berlin is perceived, both nationally and internationally, as an attractive business location. The city’s image attracts talent, entrepreneurs and investors from across the world. In 2019, the capital’s startups received 3.69 billion euros in 262 financing rounds. This meant that Berlin was once again able to defend its title as Germany’s startup capital, as three out of five euros invested in startups ended up here.

A defining factor in the Be Berlin campaign that contributed to its success, was that the focus was not on the city of Berlin, but on its people and their diverse lifestyles. For this, Embassy developed the speech bubble as a visual frame, with three one-liners in the center. During the launch phase, celebrities such as the star chef Tim Raue and the pupils from the Rütli School wrote the texts for the speech bubbles; later, Berliners contributed their own ideas.

The red speech bubble works as a visual frame, with three one-liners in the center

The red speech bubble works as a visual frame, with three one-liners in the center (© EMBASSY Berlin)

The Berlin campaign got its unmistakable profile from a specially developed typeface. For the design, Fuenfwerken engaged the experienced type designer Alessio Leonardi. His first drafts already contained the unmistakable characteristics of the later extended family: the strong horizontal emphasis, curved diagonals in selected letters, broken stems in the italics as well as the contrasting interplay of angular and round elements.

“What is special about the typeface is its humanity. The family was not stringently planned, it has grown and gone through several stages of development. Despite its clarity and functionality, it appears lively and unconventional. It is not what you expect, but always something different.”

is how Alessio Leonardi describes the temperament of his typeface.

The name for the Berlin typeface came about almost automatically. “Change” refers both to the transformation of a vital big city and to the visual characteristics of the typeface. Alessio Leonardi: “The letters are not static, yet they produce a calm text image. Change is unconventional and has many peculiar details, but looks immediately familiar. It is not perfect, just as a living city is never perfect. Change is open to the new, it embodies change and is itself part of change.”

Early sketches of Change

Some of Alessio Leonardi’s initial analog sketches

The original draft, Change Letter, with which the Berlin campaign was launched, has a special significance. With its contrasting interplay of hardness and subtlety, it lends emphasis to texts and headlines. The conically shaped strokes and angled diagonals in the letters A, M, V, W, v and w make it unmistakable. The typewriter look, enriched with slab serifs, carries the three-line core messages of the campaign and becomes a set piece for all Berliners. With three fixed letter widths, it is located between monospaced and proportional typefaces and makes the texts it is set in appear strong and self-confident.

The desire of the Governing Mayor of Berlin to expand the use of Change across all of the city’s general communication, led to the development of Change Sans a year later. Change Sans became the second typeface in the family with a somewhat more neutral appearance, but with the same features as Letter: Regular, Bold, Italic and Bold Italic. In 2010, it was expanded with lighter and bolder weights. As its designer says: “Change Sans was developed for longer texts, with proportional widths, the basic cut slightly lighter and narrower. This gives texts a pleasant gray value for better reading and increases the contrast between Regular and Bold. The italics are also high-contrast. Some vertical bars are curved. The 11° slant makes them fast and rhythmic.”

Another unusual feature of Change is that the tracking is reduced as the stroke width increases. This means that a bold cut like ExtraBlack takes up less space than a thin cut like Hairline. At the same time, a more harmonious white space of the counters and the spacing is achieved.

Change in front of The Rotes Rathaus and the Berlin Television Tower

Change in front of The Rotes Rathaus and the Berlin Television Tower

As a Berlin-based foundry, we wanted to work with Alessio Leonardi to comprehensively revise and expand this special artifact of regional type culture and to finally make it available to designers worldwide. In the rather rigid official design environment, the potential of Change has never been truly reached. Now it can show the world what it can do.

The focus of our optimization was initially on the Change (Sans) family, for which we expanded the number of weights from five to eleven (insert Spinal Tap joke here), coordinated them better and pushed the limits of the shapes with new extremes in favor of greater flexibility: Hairline, Thin, ExtraLight, Light, Regular, Medium, SemiBold, Bold, ExtraBold, Black and ExtraBlack. In order to control the letters precisely, we rebuilt the entire family on the basis of three masters with modern tools and taking into account increased demands. With the Variable Fonts, which are now available for the first time, all nuances of additional stroke widths between the extremes of Hairline and ExtraBlack can be set.

As part of its rebirth, the character set of Change has also been enlarged. This also applies to the glyphs for non-Latin languages, which were checked and tested by Amélie Bonet (Cyrillic and Greek) and Donny Truong (Vietnamese). Finally, small caps across all weights extend the typographic variety. We plan to give Change Letter the same treatment at a later date, enriching the family with a completely new monospace variant as well as pictogram fonts. The latter are already in use sporadically on our website fontwerk.com.

We are exceptionally excited to see how this Berlin plant will bloom in other parts of the world.

A
#65

Glyphs

Uppercase

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

Lowercase

a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
j
k
l
m
n
o
p
q
r
s
t
u
v
w
x
y
z

Latin Accents

Á
Ă
Â
Ä
À
Ā
Ą
Å
Ã
Æ
Ć
Č
Ç
Ĉ
Ċ
Ð
Ď
Đ
É
Ĕ
Ě
Ê
Ë
Ė
È
Ē
Ę
Ğ
Ĝ
Ģ
Ġ
Ħ
Ĥ
Í
Ĭ
Î
Ï
İ
Ì
Ī
Į
Ĩ
Ĵ
Ķ
Ĺ
Ľ
Ļ
Ŀ
Ł
Ń
Ň
Ņ
Ŋ
Ñ
Ó
Ŏ
Ô
Ö
Ò
Ơ
Ő
Ō
Ø
Õ
Œ
Þ
Ŕ
Ř
Ŗ
Ś
Š
Ş
Ŝ
Ș
Ə
Ŧ
Ť
Ţ
Ț
Ú
Ŭ
Û
Ü
Ù
Ư
Ű
Ū
Ų
Ů
Ũ
Ŵ
Ý
Ŷ
Ÿ
Ź
Ž
Ż
á
ă
â
ä
à
ā
ą
å
ã
æ
ć
č
ç
ĉ
ċ
ð
ď
đ
é
ĕ
ě
ê
ế
ë
ė
è
ē
ę
ğ
ĝ
ģ
ġ
ħ
ĥ
í
ĭ
î
ï
i
̇
ì
ī
į
ĩ
ĵ
ķ
ĺ
ľ
ļ
ŀ
ł
ń
ň
ņ
ŋ
ñ
ó
ŏ
ô
ö
ò
ơ
ő
ō
ø
õ
œ
þ
ŕ
ř
ŗ
ś
š
ş
ŝ
ș
ß
ə
ŧ
ť
ţ
ț
ú
ŭ
û
ü
ù
ư
ű
ū
ų
ů
ũ
ŵ
ý
ŷ
ÿ
ź
ž
ż

Numerals & Currency Symbols

0
1
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9
¤
$
¢
£
¥
ƒ
0
1
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0
1
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0
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8
9

Small Caps

!
"
#
$
%
&
'
(
)
*
+
-
/
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
:
;
<
=
>
?
@
[
\
]
^
_
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k
l
m
n
o
p
q
r
s
t
u
v
w
x
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{
|
}
~
¡
¢
£
¤
¥
¦
§
©
ª
«
¬
­
®
°
±
·
º
»
¿
×
ß
à
á
â
ã
ä
å
æ
ç
è
é
ê
ë
ì
í
î
ï
ð
ñ
ò
ó
ô
õ
ö
÷
ø
ù
ú
û
ü
ý
þ
ÿ
ā
ă
ą
ć
ĉ
ċ
č
ď
đ
ē
ĕ
ė
ę
ě
ĝ
ğ
ġ
ģ
ĥ
ħ
ĩ
ī
ĭ
į
ij
ĵ
ķ
ĺ
ļ
ľ
ŀ
ł
ń
ņ
ň
ŋ
ō
ŏ
ő
œ
ŕ
ŗ
ř
ś
ŝ
ş
š
ţ
ť
ŧ
ũ
ū
ŭ
ů
ű
ų
ŵ
ŷ
ź
ż
ž
ƒ
ơ
ư
ǿ
ȁ
ȃ
ȅ
ȇ
ȉ
ȋ
ȍ
ȏ
ȑ
ȓ
ȕ
ȗ
ș
ț
ȷ
ə
ɵ
̀
́
̂
̃
̄
̆
̇
̈
̉
̊
̋
̌
̏
̑
;
΄
΅
·
ΐ
ά
έ
ή
ί
ΰ
α
β
γ
δ
ε
ζ
η
θ
ι
κ
λ
μ
ν
ξ
ο
π
ρ
ς
σ
τ
υ
φ
χ
ψ
ω
ϊ
ϋ
ό
ύ
ώ
а
б
в
г
д
е
ж
з
и
й
к
л
м
н
о
п
р
с
т
у
ф
х
ц
ч
ш
щ
ъ
ы
ь
э
ю
я
ѐ
ё
ђ
ѓ
є
ѕ
і
ї
ј
љ
њ
ћ
ќ
ѝ
ў
џ
ѡ
ѣ
ѥ
ѧ
ѩ
ѫ
ѭ
ѯ
ѱ
ѳ
ѵ
ѷ
ґ
ғ
ҕ
җ
ҙ
қ
ҝ
ҟ
ҡ
ң
ҥ
ҫ
ү
ұ
ҳ
ҷ
ҹ
һ
ӂ
ӏ
ӑ
ӗ
ә
ӧ
ӫ
ӯ
ӳ
ế

Punctuation

.
,
:
;
!
¡
?
¿
&
@
·
*
#
/
|
\
(
)
{
}
[
]
-
­
_
«
»
"
'

Mathematical Signs & Symbols

+
×
÷
=
>
<
±
~
¬
^
µ
%

Arrows & Shapes

Ligatures

fi
fl
ff
ffi
ffl
ch
ck
ct
fb
ffb
fff
ffh
ffj
ffk
fft
fh
fj
fk
ft
ftt
ſt
sc
st
ſt

Greek

Α
Β
Γ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ά
Έ
Ή
Ί
Ό
Ύ
Ώ
Ϊ
Ϋ
α
β
γ
δ
ε
ζ
η
θ
ι
κ
λ
ν
ξ
ο
π
ρ
σ
τ
υ
φ
χ
ψ
ω
ί
ϊ
ΐ
ύ
ϋ
ΰ
ό
ώ
ά
έ
ή
·
΄
΅

Cyrillic

А
Б
В
Г
Ѓ
Ґ
Д
Е
Ѐ
Ё
Ж
З
И
Й
Ѝ
К
Ќ
Л
М
Н
О
П
Р
С
Т
У
Ў
Ф
Х
Ч
Ц
Ш
Щ
Џ
Ь
Ъ
Ы
Љ
Њ
Ѕ
Є
Э
І
Ї
Ј
Ћ
Ю
Я
Ђ
Ѣ
Ѳ
Ѵ
Ғ
Җ
Ҙ
Қ
Ҝ
Ҡ
Ң
Ҥ
Ҫ
Ү
Ұ
Ҳ
Ҷ
Ҹ
Һ
Ӏ
Ӂ
Ӑ
Ӗ
Ә
Ӧ
Ӯ
Ӳ
а
б
в
г
ѓ
ґ
д
е
ѐ
ё
ж
з
и
й
ѝ
к
ќ
л
м
н
о
п
р
с
т
у
ў
ф
х
ч
ц
ш
щ
џ
ь
ъ
ы
љ
њ
ѕ
є
э
і
ї
ј
ћ
ю
я
ђ
ѣ
ѳ
ѵ
ғ
җ
ҙ
қ
ҝ
ҡ
ң
ҥ
ҫ
ү
ұ
ҳ
ҷ
ҹ
һ
ӏ
ӂ
ӑ
ӗ
ә
ӧ
ӯ
ӳ

Languages

Afrikaans
Albanian
Asu
Basque
Bemba
Bena
Breton
Catalan
Cornish
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Embu
English
Esperanto
Estonian
Faroese
Filipino
Finnish
French
Friulian
Galician
Ganda
German
Gusii
Hungarian
Icelandic
Inari Sami
Indonesian
Irish
Italian
Jola-Fonyi
Kabuverdianu
Kalenjin
Kamba
Kikuyu
Kinyarwanda
Latvian
Lithuanian
Lower Sorbian
Luo
Luxembourgish
Luyia
Machame
Makhuwa-Meetto
Makonde
Malagasy
Maltese
Manx
Meru
Morisyen
North Ndebele
Northern Sami
Norwegian Bokmål
Norwegian Nynorsk
Nyankole
Oromo
Polish
Portuguese
Quechua
Romanian
Romansh
Rombo
Rundi
Rwa
Samburu
Sango
Sangu
Sena
Serbian
Shambala
Shona
Slovak
Slovenian
Soga
Somali
Spanish
Swahili
Swedish
Swiss German
Taita
Teso
Turkish
Upper Sorbian
Uzbek
Vietnamese
Volapük
Vunjo
Walser
Welsh
Greek
Belarusian
Bosnian
Bulgarian
Chechen
Macedonian
Russian
Serbian
Ukrainian
Credits & Details
Design Contributions
  • Andreas Frohloff
  • Imme Leonardi
  • Amélie Bonet (Cyrillic and Greek Consultancy)
  • Donny Truong (Vietnamese Consultancy)
Mastering, Production

Olli Meier

Marketing

Alessio Leonardi (Naming, Illustrations)
Priska Wollein (Naming, Conceptual Contribution)
Helmut Ness (Naming, Conceptual Contribution)
Ivo Gabrowitsch (Copywriting, Specimen)
Norman Posselt (Photography)
Anja Knust (Graphic Design)
Jürgen Siebert (Copywriting)
Lucy Beckley (English Translation)

Design Period
2008–2022
Release Date
September 22, 2022
Recommended Use

Advertising & Packaging
Film & TV
Logo, Branding & CI
Poster & Billboards
Sports
Wayfinding & Signage