Surekha Ragavan
May 21, 2021

What does a ‘diverse’ typeface look like?

Content agency Distillery has developed a new typeface in collaboration with hundreds of creatives around the world.

What does a ‘diverse’ typeface look like?

In conjunction with World Diversity Day today (May 21), content studio Distillery launched the “world's first truly diverse typeface”. What exactly does that mean, you ask?

Well, the agency approached over 308 creatives across 23 ethnicities and 54 countries to contribute ideas with the aim of breaking away from the “consistency, uniformity, and sameness” of fonts often used in branding and creative work. The agency asked each contributor to present a letter design that represents their individual beliefs and values.

After allowing six weeks for contributors to send in ideas, the agency then combined the best submissions into a downloadable font for anyone to use. We like the part that proceeds from each download go to one of three charity partners, one of which includes the Disasters Emergency Committee. It’s unclear what criteria is used to determine ‘best submissions’, as is the make-up of the panel judging this.

The agency is calling for brands to use the typeface this week in their logos, brand slogans, website headers, social comms, internal comms, and more. It went on to say that “the simple integration of a typeface is a demonstration of support and unity in celebrating diversity. Using the typeface is an act of inclusion”.

In a statement it added: “In the typeface, diversity is shown through the variety of people who have contributed. Inclusion is then how we weave the typeface into society and give those people a voice.”

Campaign's take: A new original typeface is all very well, but to equate using it to an “act of inclusion” may be a step too far. Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a typeface. Perhaps real industry-driven inclusivity looks more like an initiative that incorporates POC-driven ideas in creative work all year round. Oh, and maybe paying POC creatives equitable wages. Again, we’re not against the idea of a new font and we do commend the agency for a decent symbolic initiative whose proceeds go to charity, but let’s not confuse it with actions-driven inclusivity. Nor should we dilute the real-world impact of actual inclusivity. 

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