California ‘b’-ing at Red Mango

On Saturday, I visited Esplanade Xchange for the first time. A few friends and I stopped by Red Mango to get a little FroYo; and as we took leisurely scoops from our cups and continued with our gossips, my attention was drawn to the wall right by we sat. On it were listed all the countries and cities where branches of Red Mango could be found, in a variety of typefaces. They were stylish and chic, as expected in most popular youth haunts nowadays. But what piqued my interest was tucked away in the corner, partially hidden behind an empty table.  The word ‘bandung’, with its funky ‘b’, which I would like to share:


This grungy typeface is Platelet, created by British designer Conor Mangat in 1993, and commercially released by Emigre in 1994. who currently works in San Francisco. Born from a 4-day workshop at CalArts, Platelet was inspired by California licence plates, which was organic and disorderly. There is a hardiness to the typeface which maintains the monospaced quality, which would have been a requirement to ensure that the same number of characters could fit onto the plate. Originally designed with only lower cases to complement the exclusively upper cases found on licence plates, the typeface was expanded to include small capitals and other text characters. Here is a sample:

Platelet Sample 2

Despite being Mangat’s first attempt at designing typeface, its release was well received. It was added to London’s Coran Foundation Collection in 1996, and even sparked several imitations. Detractors there are, and some point out its failure in accommodating more complexly accented languages. Mangat admits that in many ways, it was a “naïve effort”, but nonetheless, its popularity speaks for its appeal. I particularly enjoy the type ‘b’, which is an amalgamation of both the majuscule and minuscule, and is resembles a vertically flipped Eszett. The rounded edges also makes its air of disregard that much more adorable.

For more information, check out these links:

Just my type: platelet (Typographic Problem Solving)

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