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6 Uses of Type That Cause Emotional Impact

Could you activate a cause close to your heart through the power of type? Monotype's 2016 New Blood Awards brief challenged young creatives to do just that. As the brief stated, 'The right typeface, used in the right way, gives a cause, movement or change its true voice'. We leafed through D&AD's annuals to bring you a demonstration of the most emotive uses of Typography. Here we give you six examples that subvert, layer and provoke, plus a call to arms from the Monotype Judging Foreman, Craig Oldham. 

Foreword from the Foreman

"This particular brief, I feel, resonates right now. I’m excited to see the skills of the entrants, naturally, but I really cannot wait to see their passions and personalities too, as part of their work. I just want to see passion and I want to see empathy. I want people to care about their work and in communicating their responses". – Craig Oldham, Monotype Judging Panel (Creative Director and Founder, Office of Craig Oldham).

Nazis Against Nazis

Award: White Pencil / White Pencil - Creativity for Good / 2015
Agency: GGH Lowe/Grabarz & Partner
Client: ZDK Gesellschaft Demokratische Kultur

For 15 years, EXIT-Deutschland has been helping neo-Nazis escape the far-right community. Every year, neo-Nazis from across Europe flock to the small German town of Wunsiedel in pilgrimage. In 2015 the neo-Nazi's annual march was turned into something positive: a charity walk. For every metre the neo-Nazis walked, €€10 went to EXIT-Deutschland. Motivated by banners that subverted their own message, the neo-Nazis went the distance and unwillingly raised €€10,000 for EXIT-Deutschland to help their own members abandon the scene.

Troy Davis – I Am Alive

Award: Graphite Pencil / Crafts for Advertising / Typography for Advertising / 2014
Agency: Serviceplan Group
Client: Alive

Alive e.V. is a non-profit organisation committed to abolishing the death penalty. Focusing on the example of Troy Davis, a man executed in the US despite worldwide protests and serious doubts surrounding his conviction, the task was to develop an online campaign capable of highlighting capital punishment’s inherent inhumanity. With the aid of letters he wrote from death row, Davis' handwriting was studied allowing a font that represents the man and the travesty of his death to be created. Participants of the campaign were able to use the font in their protests, posting messages for President Obama.

Troy Davis – I Am Alive
Troy Davis – I Am Alive


Award: Graphite Pencil / Crafts for Advertising / Typography for Advertising / 2015
Agency: The Cyranos McCann
Client: Fundació Arrels

Each human being's handwriting is unique. But the homeless write signs nobody wants to see. HomelessFonts is an initiative that brings together fonts based on the handwriting of homeless people and makes them available for purchase. The fonts were bought by brands and designers for use across ads, posters and packaging. People could also purchase the app and use the fonts across their social media channels. With over 30,000 downloads to date, the initiative uses the tools that help the homeless beg in the street to help them escape it.


Dangerous / Ears / Private Fun

Award: Wood Pencil / Typography / Typography for Advertising - Campaigns / 2005
Agency: AMV BBDO
Client: RSPCA

Dangerous / Ears / Private Fun
Dangerous / Ears / Private Fun
Dangerous / Ears / Private Fun
Dangerous / Ears / Private Fun

Now is Better

Award: Yellow Pencil / Crafts for Design / Typography for Design / 2013
Agency: Sagmeister & Walsh
Client: Sagmeister & Walsh

‘Now is Better’ was a series of typographic animations produced for The Happy Show exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. It expresses the sentiment that now is the best time to be alive. The executions were created with various materials such as eggs, fish tanks, coffee, and sugar cubes. Typography was captured entirely on camera, with no part of the animation created digitally.

Liaison and Ferrymoor

Award: Wood Pencil / Crafts for Design / Typefaces / 2015
Agency: Craig Oldham
Client: Unified Theory of Everything

In Loving Memory of Work is a visual record of the UK coal miners' strike of 1984-85, the nation's longest industrial strike. The book collates the political and cultural graphics from the dispute, all created by working class people fighting the Thatcher Government. Two bespoke headline fonts were created; Liaison and Ferrymoor. Liaison is inspired by the Liaison Committee for the Defence of the Trade Union placards distributed during the dispute. The font's distinct geometric forms embody the industrial nature and urgency of the dispute but the type's harsh nature is tempered with quirks like the crossbar in H. Ferrymoor draws inspiration from the Ferrymoor-Riddings colliery banner, which has distinct letterforms handcut and sewn into its fabric. Whilst, in today's context, the font appears to have a digital aesthetic and structure, the banner was created in the 1970s and has been on picket lines ever since. Both fonts were created in uppercase and small caps with hairline glyphs. The book's dust jacket, featuring Liaison, is printed using coal dust from an old South Yorkshire mine.

In Loving Memory of Work
Liaison and Ferrymoor
Liaison and Ferrymoor

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