Stately, the map-making font

My country ’tis a font, Sweet land of ligatures, of thee I sing

No, I haven’t finally gone daffy, my country really is a font. And it’s called Stately.

Created by Ben Markowitz, a UX/UI designer based in Virginia, Stately is a font where each state is a glyph. States are positioned and sized relative to each other, so you can create a full map of the United States just by typing letters. The states are mapped alphabetically to uppercase A–Z and then lowercase a–z. For example, typing “A” gets you Alabama, “B” is Alaska,“C” is Arkansas and so on.

Ligatures are also used so each state’s abbreviation is also its shortcut. Thus, typing “ca” generates the glyph of California. This is yet another clever example of a font designer exploiting ligatures in a way that we’ve seen previously in Chartwell and the Symbolset fonts.

You can download Stately for free at Github.

Stately is mainly intended for use on the Web, and the Read Me includes instructions for how to use CSS to set the size and base color of the map, as well as how to style individual states.

However, you can use Stately in other applications, including InDesign (as the screenshots above show). Just apply the maximum negative tracking (-1000), and the shapes of the states will be correctly positioned relative to one another.

Posted on: February 19, 2013

Mike Rankin

Mike is the Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and He is also the author of several video training series, including Font Management Essential Training, InDesign FX, and InDesign CC: Interactive Document Fundamentals.

1 Comment on Stately, the map-making font

  1. Fantastic as-is! Now surely there’s an Opentype genius out there who can make the text “us,ca,tx” (or “z,E,r”) in one text block show up as a US map with California and Texas colored however each character or pair is colored, the same way typing 33,21,56 in a text box using Chartwell font and glyps creates a pie chart with each value pair a different color in one single text block using Indesign glyphs? Expanding into other countries as well…depending on which glyph you pull from the Opentype menu?

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