Social and political type

brianskywalker's picture

What is truly "pushing forward" verses following trends in type design? I'm not sure what sociological mindset there is today, besides the political—a love for the current president of the Unites States, and something of a Robin Hood idea of the Occupy movement. At least that's what's going on in America, I don't know so much about the rest of the world. How does one express that, or react to it, with type? Those notions and movements are not really new at all, just in their place and specific circumstances. And certainly nationality is not a new piece of vocabulary for type.

Thinking about it, there is a definite movement towards natural & organic, sustainability, and equal rights (marriage) for same sex and other challenging views on marriage, or non-marriage or whatever the case may be. These are to an extent expressed in recent typefaces, whether consciously or not, such as the many organic types, or the pairing of a sans with a sans (Sense & Sensibility).

Should political and social movements influence type? And to what extent?

(this is stemming from this thread)

brianskywalker's picture

Actually, this has already been discussed, I think:

hrant's picture

Thank you for starting this thread. The disheartening
conservatism in today's type scene is indeed a problem,
and not at all limited to Google's effort.

I'll find time to reply in full with my thoughts, and bring in
things from the other threads so we can focus on one place.


oldnick's picture

Perhaps a prelude to your question is in order: to what extent can the design of a typeface imply or suggest any attitude?

Certainly, attitudes like silly, creepy, quaint, charming, impetuous and the like are easily enough communicated, but what are the essential qualities of any social movement, and how are these qualities conveyed? What is an economically just letterform? Can a serif be unbiased? What does an ampersand for the 99% look like?

These are not idle questions; I really would like to know...

abattis's picture

@hrant, could you explain more conservatism in contemporary type design, GF's role in advancing it, and if that changed in the last year? :)

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