Nick Humphreys has a unique hobby: he likes to trawl through the newest Linktrees to see how they’re being used out in the wild.
The extremely “Linktree” story behind Linktree’s brand new typeface
“I love this product. So much so that instead of watching TV – or while I’m watching TV – I’ll just trawl through new users and be like, oh, we could include them in this marketing campaign,” he says.
Humphreys is one of the co-founders of Linktree. He’s also a designer by trade and oversaw our big new redesign, working with design agency Collins and “every inch” of the Linktree team. The new and improved Linktree includes fun evolutions like an arresting motion-led design and a kaleidoscopic color palette. Another crucial element of the rebrand is our new typeface – one that originated from Humphreys’ late-night digging.
“I was looking for people in Melbourne, where Linktree is founded and headquartered, and I found a typography Linktree called ATS Type,” he says. “It had nothing on it; they’d literally just signed up. I emailed them and was like, hey! It seems to me that you’re a type foundry in Melbourne. I’d love to grab a coffee.”
Humphreys and the ATS Type team met up, and from that chat Humphreys recruited the type foundry to create a new, global typeface exclusively for Linktree. The typeface, called Link Sans, is now in use across many parts of Linktree. In reading these words, you’re looking at it right now!
For Humphreys, being able to recruit Linktree creators to work on big projects is a rewarding part of the job.
“We love to include creators and people we find on Linktree in our work so that we can pay them for what they’re incredible at,” he says.
And ATS Type is focused on delivering something that Linktree was looking for: multi-language supported typefaces. Multi-language typefaces can work with a range of alphabets. They retain their design and feel across Latin alphabets as well as the likes of Chinese, Japanese, Cyrillic and Devanagari, which is used in Indian languages.
“ATS Type is focussed on having one type surface that can adapt to any language, which is incredibly unique,” Humphreys says. That specialization fit with one of the core goals of the Linktree redesign: to create a platform that works for anyone, anywhere around the world.
“Anyone who’s visiting a Linktree should have a really great experience, regardless of where they’re from and what language they speak,” Humphreys says.
“So the vision was, how do we build a typeface that looks the same and has the same character, thickness and feel in Brazil as it does in Indonesia, Australia and India?”
Link Sans was designed with global accessibility in mind and, in time, will be adaptive across any language.
For Dalton Bruyns, the brains behind ATS Type, the central design inspiration was the idea of ‘connectivity’ and forming a bridge between the written word and the Linktree world.
“Our main point of inspiration came from Linktree themselves,” he says. “We wanted to define a look and feel that resonated with the personality of the new brand, could be expanded to multiple scripts and worked [in a variety of situations].”
Of course, making it work for a global audience was top-of-mind. “The major benefits we strived to bake into Link Sans is its multiscriptual nature and construction. We dove deep to ensure we captured not only our English-speaking communities, but listened to experts in India, Korea and Europe to understand the considerations we wanted to bring in.”
Font nerds may appreciate terminal endings of f, t and j, which Dalton says he and the team paid extra attention to. But the team said their particular favorite is the lowercase a and s – because the “structure, curves and width highlight the construction of LinkSans in a poetic way”.
Dalton admits that type design is a “weird art form” – but it’s the one he loves.
For Humphreys, it was a double-win to create an adaptive typeface, and to do so with a creator from the Linktree community.
“We have such a unique range of creators. There’s an Excel spreadsheet influencer that uses Linktree and has a really engaged, super niche audience. Then we’ve got a marine biologist who has a sustainable swimwear range that funds her biology work.”
“I love to expose myself to this whole world of creators,” he says. “It’s just such an incredibly multifaceted, wacky and wonderful bunch. It’s just humbling that they use Linktree in some way.”