As a studio of creative people — regardless of your role — we at Vitamin want to use our platform of skills for social progression. Watching cultural protests in America from afar, as well as experiencing them around one of our studios in London, the ever growing Black Lives Matter movement is something which we not only believe in but want to support in whatever way we can. Support can come in many ways too. While like many we felt it apt to simply show our mark of united respect, we now want to take a moment to speak up and share something new. This is a vast social issue and one which we cannot undertake alone, however, we hope that by capturing a small glimpse into the bigger picture — a glimpse which others may be able to empathise and come together through — we may be able to open eyes and motivate change in people’s own actions.
Typography is a major aspect of our daily lives, being a crucial way in which brands, people and importantly ideas are communicated. Seeing so many passionate individuals take to the streets, with their chants captured plain and bold in photo-journalistic images, the sheer diversity of brandished signs seemed to be a graphical heart of the movement. We wanted to further immortalise these written voices by creating a typeface composed entirely of hand-held placard lettering. Topic Type BLM. In process, this meant trawling hundreds upon hundreds of publicly available photographs to find each letter, number and symbol required. A test of observation and collection quickly transcended “the job at hand” though. Attentively looking, reading and considering these seemingly endless images stirred a tangible, overwhelming feeling. It’s hard to describe what the emotion truly was; a mixture of pride, sadness, pain and courage linked to each person, but it reassured that perhaps this as a solution could be respectful to such a monumental cause.
Curating these photos we aimed for a balance of letterforms; thick, thin, smooth and angular. Typed, hand written, painted, cut-out, on paper, on card, on wood, on plastic. These are all ways in which society has turned to represent their beliefs in times of need, and deserved to be present in the foundations of this project. From here we had to vectorise them, being as careful as possible to retain the very human details of each character. Straying from typographic norms, we wanted to include a symbol which was ever-present in the signs; the raised fist. This seemed perfectly suited to the full stop; ending each sentence with a mark of powerful action to show a solidarity towards all involved.
Hoping to share this font with the world, we have only one requirement from you; to receive a free .ttf copy please send proof of donation to any cause related to the Black Lives Matter movement. In doing so, you can find us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask any questions in the comments or on our various Vitamin social media channels.
This article was written by Robert Lloyd, Art Director at Vitamin London; a digital innovation studio who continues to try and Push the Possible, translating ideas into exciting experiences which are more accessible to everyone, and keeping both partners and their audiences in the spotlight.