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New Fonts by Unlikely Authors

New Fonts by Unlikely Authors

The strongest vehicles for innovation are those that harness the power of unused resources. Capitalizing on something completely overlooked. And when it comes to matters of society and culture, there is a group of people who are routinely ignored and overlooked. The homeless.


According to a 2005 survey from the United Nations, there are an estimated 100 million homeless people around the world. What’s more, a 2015 report from Habitat revealed that a whopping 1.6 billion are without adequate housing. It’s a deeply troubling notion, where a definitive solution is not immediately clear. So, with an issue as pervasive and complex as homelessness, any effort to help — regardless of scope — is a worthy one.


Enter the Arrels Foundation: a global initiative that is vying to put an end to homelessness by any means necessary. For the Arrels Foundation, no arena is too small to do good, whether a project is on a global or local scale is irrelevant to their mission. At present, the social enterprise is overseeing a diverse range of projects, from every corner of the Earth, including Barcelona, Spain — home of their most ingenious venture yet.


Like our fingerprints, every person has their very own, totally distinctive style of handwriting. Some are proud of their penmanship. Others not so much (this author included). There’s even an entire field of study that’s all about understanding the intricacies and nuances of someone’s handwriting — it’s called graphology.


At any rate, given the idiosyncratic nature of our handwriting, the Arrels Foundation recognized an opportunity. As we know, those struggling with homelessness will typically craft signs as a means of panhandling, to relay their state of affairs with whomever passes by. So, the Arrels Foundation devised a simple idea: to provide homeless people with a means of income by creating and marketing new typefaces based on their own, distinctive handwriting styles: Homelessfonts.


They got to work right away, opening up a makeshift studio from which invited guests could transpose their chirography into bona fide typefaces. The foundation welcomed 12 different contributors in total, with each producing their very own, self-titled font-family. Should someone license a font, all proceed would go directly into the pocket of the original author. Now, fonts can be purchased not just for a design project, but social good, too.


Did we mention how cool the fonts are?


Retailing at just €19 for a personal license and €290 for commercial purposes, Homelessfonts’ catalog of handwritten typefaces would add to any designer’s arsenal of tools. Each option boasts its own, singular aesthetic: Stere evokes your typical slab type, but unvarnished; Loraine’s gothic style of scrawl could very well be a standardized webfont; Francisco has the panache to rival the wildly popular Permanent Marker font. All of this to say, the Arrels Foundation didn’t just string this project together without paying heed to quality — they unmasked a new genus of artists, whose work would have otherwise never seen the light of day. You’re getting more bounce for the ounce, so to speak.


To check out the Homelessfonts typography kit, visit their official site here.