What would Monotype’s Burlingame typeface taste like?

burlingame 5000B SHyndman
To celebrate their 5,000th Twitter follower, Monotype commissioned Type Tasting’s Sarah to create an edible version of their newest typeface release, Burlingame.

Burlingame was developed by Carl Crossgrove following pioneering investigations by Monotype into the legibility of vehicle displays. The research revealed a set of optimum criteria for dashboard display fonts: large counters and x-heights, simple shapes and a loose spacing of characters. It was found that a humanist sans serif typeface with these characteristics reduced male drivers’ glance time significantly.

burlingame MonotypeA SHyndman

The concept for the edible version of Burlingame reflects this suitability as a dashboard display font by recreating the taste of a long car journey. The molded and tactile shape of a car dashboard is represented by liquorice style caramel letters flavoured with coffee and mint for the ‘stay awake’ journey experience. By contrast the illuminated numbers and letters are made from glossy lemon jelly which shines out against the dark liquorice. The finished collection of letters are wrapped like pick ’n’ mix sweets purchased from a motorway service station.

Type Tasting’s Sarah Hyndman has been using food as a way to initiate conversations about how we respond to different typefaces. Whether we’re type designers, graphic designers or outside the design industry, all of us are type consumers. We interact with typefaces constantly in our everyday lives and, although it happens on an instinctive level, when we read a word the font has an effect on us.

She’s found that using food is an effective way to describe the experience of typography which has created a lexicon of sensory descriptions and metaphors. She’s also found that, although the discussions revolve around food, they sound authentically typographic and reveal a great deal about our experiences of typefaces.


Letter templates
Print out the letters you wish to use at the required size on A4 paper. They need to be large enough for you to cut out easily, ideally at least 4cm tall.


burlingame name


2 fl oz water
8 oz sugar
1/2 can (7 oz) sweetened condensed milk
6 oz Golden Syrup
6 oz butter
1/4 tspn black food colouring paste
5-10 drops coffee essence (adjust to taste)
5-10 drops mint essence (adjust to taste)
pinch of salt

1. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and lightly butter it.

2. Mix together the water, sugar, condensed milk, Golden Syrup and butter in a heavy saucepan.

3. Bring the mix to the boil slowly, stirring constantly. Clip a jam thermometer onto the pan so that it’s covered by the mixture but not touching the bottom.

4. Keep stirring while the mixture boils and cooks, until it reaches 242-245 degrees F. (You can also tell if it’s cooked by dropping a small amount into cold water. If the cooled piece is firm but not hard then it’s cooked).

5. Take it off the heat. Stir in the food colouring, coffee and mint essences and the pinch of salt.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and leave to cool at room temperature (around 2 hours). The mixture should be 50-75mm deep.

7. When cool, remove the mixture from the foil and place it on a smooth cutting surface. Take the letter stencils prepared earlier and place them over the sheet of cooled liquorice caramel. Cut each of the letters out with a fine, sharp knife (a new, clean scalpel is ideal), dip it in a cup of hot water from time to time to make the cutting process easier.

Storage: keep in a cool place in an airtight container and these will be fine for a week or two.

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4 sachets of gelatine
1/2 pint water (this is intended to set much harder than regular jelly)
2 oz sugar
1/2 tspn yellow food colouring
5-10 drops lemon essence

1. Heat the water in a pan. Add the sugar, yellow food colouring and the lemon essence.

2. When the sugar’s melted and the water’s hot (but not boiling) sprinkle the gelatine on gradually, stirring briskly until it’s thoroughly mixed. Never allow the gelatine mixture to boil, ideally place it over a pan of warm water if you need to heat it further.

3. Once the gelatine has dissolved, pour the mixture into a baking tray so that it’s 50-75mm deep. Place this in the fridge to set.

4. Once the sheet of lemon jelly has set you can transfer it from the baking tray to a glass tray or plate. Place this over the sheet of printed out letters and you can see through both the jelly and the glass to trace around and cut out the letter shapes. Use a fine, sharp knife (a new, clean scalpel is ideal), dip it in a cup of hot water from time to time to make the cutting process easier.

Storage: keep the lemon jelly letters in the fridge in an airtight container and eat within a couple of days.

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burlingame 5000D SHyndman

Click here to see the full Burlingame type family on the Monotype website


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