The Strange Washington Mutual font

Has anyone been in the new Washington Mutual banks lately? (I use the term “new” loosely – they actually started to re-design the banks in 2004) They have this “coffee-shop” decor with this CRAZY font all over the walls.

So Washington Mutual actually patented this new “ocassio” decor style to create a more comfortable atmosphere, much like a coffee-shop. Which is WEIRD… because it’s a bank. As a designer, I am concerned about the tellers which are at kiosk’s spread throughout the room, and MORE concerned about the colorful collage and phycho unique font covering the walls. The SF Chronicle reports that “In some branches, recorded jazz music is played, coffee is served, and popcorn machines whir. Customers often mistake the offices for a Gap or Starbucks store. ” I’m not sure I’ll ever mistake WAMU for a GAP, but the re-design is definitely unconventional.

I was unable to take photos inside the bank, but if you have seen this font… YOU KNOW. The “E” is elongated and fat on the end. There are 1/2 serif’s on the “F’s,” the “A” is sharp on the end and the “M” looks like it’s on crack. It’s a combination of a serif and a sans-serif I’m curious about the WHO and the WHY behind this font. (see my sketch below)wamufont

I get the whole: “Lets make banking fun” vibe, but for me, the multi-colored icons of money on the walls and the large sums of cash being counted in the middle of the room, just freaks me out.

If anyone has more information about this strange font, let me know.

-Mel

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3 thoughts on “The Strange Washington Mutual font

  1. Hi Mel,

    I don’t know the name or creator of the font but i have seen it, a friend of mine had a company logo made (not by me unfortunately :))
    with this font, i’ll ask him who did it and maybe we can get to the bottom of the font mystery 🙂 .. also, the psychedelic look of the bank freaks me out too .. 🙂 ..

  2. Hey Mark – Was it the same font? really?! There is HOPE to this mystery! ha Let me know what you discover… 🙂

  3. I liked the WaMu font. I believe it falls into the humanistic font category. I have searched for it on the web without success.
    The bank layout with individual kiosks for the tellers provided a friendly atmosphere where it was easy to talk to the tellers. Since the acquisition by Chase the lettering has been removed from the walls and bank employees tell me that the kiosks will go. Chase wants to have a consistent appearance in all their branches.

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