City Font Project Yokohama

Hama Mincho, born of the town of Yokohama

Hama Mincho (hama refers to Yokohama and means ‘beach’) is a Mincho typeface created with the aim of expressing the city of Yokohama’s broadmindedness and openness to adopting new things. On the basis of impressions of Yokohama that were gained through fieldwork, and more than 2000 phrases that were collected from local residents in a branding program held on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the city’s port, the following key phrases were chosen: ‘A stylish town’, ‘A port alongside history’, and ‘Coexistence of tradition and new things’. This is a Mincho typeface that accentuates thickness variations and vertical/horizontal stroke contrasts, and with these phrases in mind, evokes in its horizontals the ferries that traverse the harbor, and in its verticals the city’s tall buildings seen from the ocean.

Reminiscent of bygone days, expressing the townscape viewed from the sea

The motif for the horizontal strokes is the ocean liner Hikawa Maru. This celebrated Yokohama vessel was used as a point of reference when generating the outline. After completion in 1930, she served in the Pacific for about thirty years. In 2010, her 80th birthday was commemorated. In the photo, Hikawa Maru is moored at Yamashita Park. The motif for the vertical strokes is the city’s tall buildings seen from the ocean. In contrast to the slender horizontal strokes, the verticals have been given a solid thickness. The photo shows buildings in the Minato Mirai area, seen from the opposite shore.

Latin alphabet

For Latin text needs, in order to maintain harmony with the kanji characters, we have created a Modern Roman typeface with a pronounced contrast of horizontal and vertical lines. The details are replete with imagery of wind-flapped flags, anchors and the like, bringing the ambiance of the port to the fore. The letter ‘C’ with its anchor motif is based on printed type produced by Pierre Didot, who was active as a printer from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century.

Family Series

Hama Mincho’s design incorporates the scale and distinctive character of the city of Yokohama. Thickness variations have been included while maintaining design consistency, so as to enable use for titles and headings, and to accommodate main text and footnote situations as well. And for styles that accentuate vertical/horizontal stroke contrasts, the usage range extends even further. Hama Mincho is designed as a family series, with the four categories of Caption, Text, Headline and Display, each of which is available in six weights.

Trial production characters

We have begun production with Yokohama-related place names.

Usage examples

Hama Mincho is a 150-year commemorative logotype that was created with public participation through Bashamichi Shopping Avenue Cooperative Association of Naka-ku, Yokohama. It was adopted for a design produced by Kazutoshi Amano Design that received a prestigious award. In a collaborative product development project carried out in 2014 between local Yokohama designers and companies, the uchiwa fan “Hamakaze” (Beach Wind) was released as a product. Hama Mincho is being adopted increasingly for use in a variety of new products and logotypes.

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