Typography attracts millennials to Big Kansas City website

There were only a couple of times I wanted to be in Kansas City instead of Argentina last semester. One of those times was during the Big Kansas City Conference. On October 8-10, Silicon Prairie News hosted a group of incredible entrepreneurs in Kansas City, including the founders of Black Girls Code, Do Something and more. I used to write for the publication, but I had never had the chance to attend one of their popular conferences. Unfortunately, I missed out yet again.

Although I wanted to attend Big Kansas City for the awesome speaker line-up, it was the event’s website that really drew me in. The event’s website conveys a fun feel that would attract millennials and entrepreneurs to attend Big Kansas City. KC has long been on the rise in my eyes, and a lot of its growth can be attributed to motivated area companies. KC’s startup and business scene is booming, and companies are really trying to attract millennials to work in the city. There was even an event this summer called the Fiery Stick Open on the lawn of the WWI museum, complete with golf and a giant beer pong table. Silicon Prairie News has found a niche in covering this young, vibrant startup scene. The website for its KC conference reflects this.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 11.07.34 PM

Everything about this website screams, “I’m young and fun, hang out with me.” First of all, many of the events were held in an airplane hanger. That’s a bit of a side note, but how cool is that? The header of the event page looks like freshly painted brush strokes that change colors every couple seconds, and the webpage operates using scrolling navigation. The look of the website appeals to a younger demographic, and I also think the typography used on the site appeals to the same audience.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 11.09.52 PMScreen Shot 2015-02-17 at 11.08.14 PM copyThe Big Kansas City site uses two main typefaces, a script font called Jenna Sue and a sans-serif Google font family called Lato. Normally, I would really dislike the use of a script font on a website. A lot of script (and novelty) fonts evoke Papyrus for me, which is a terrible font for any website to use. However, here I think the Jenna Sue conveys effective meaning, despite its silly name. This font looks like it belongs on a handwritten invitation your cool millennial friend just sent you. It is light and fun which is what the hosts of Big Kansas City want you to think of their event. The font also matches the tone of the bright colors usedthrough out the website.

The Lato fonts on the site, likewise, compliment the page. Used with the script font, the Lato fonts add a tone of credibility and seriousness to the page that balances out the fun nature of the Jenna Sue font. The Lato fonts are used most of the time, as they should be. The fonts add simplicity and cleanness to the site’s design. It turns out Google has a whole little bio devoted to this font online. A guy named Łukasz Dziedzic designed this font with a a few goals in mind. Apparently, he wanted to create a typeface that would blend in in body text, but display some unique features in a larger size. “Male and female, serious but friendly. With the feeling of the summer,” Łukasz says in the bio (Lato apparently means summer in Polish, the more you know!) With a little more context about the font, I especially feel that Lato was well utilized here. The font is unique in its larger size. In the header image, its letters stand tall and thin, while in the nav bar, the font almost goes unseen within the site.

Overall, I think this site effectively tells a story about the up and coming startup scene in Kansas City. The site show’s KC’s fun side, and I will certainly buy a ticket if I can to future events!


One thought on “Typography attracts millennials to Big Kansas City website

  1. I think your observation of the typography is quite to the point. Both Google Lato and Jenna Sue are very representative font families: one mordenish sans-serif, the other with artistic style. Compared to Jenna Sue, Lato looks very “neutral” and clean, which conveys meaning only by the content it carries. Jenna Sue plays a different role, as it strikes the audience at the first glance. The combination of these two fonts is very smart in a way that it not only gathers attention (Jenna Sue), but also does the job properly (Lato).

    I also agree with you on your impression of the “millennial writer” of “Jenna Sue.” It does serve to provide a feel of the website.

    However, the only thing I noticed is the fact that when applying Jenna Sue to “9:00am,” it took me a little while to figure out which number it actually is.


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