Homeless Fonts

I’m always a little suspicious of philanthropic graphic design projects. The profession is generally so preoccupied with prettying up useless goods to be sold at premium prices that when it endeavors to do something actually worthwhile, the effort often looks superficial and disingenuous. This novel project from The Arrels Foundation seems to have some ring of that, but that may just be my cynicism coming through, because its concept is fairly clever.

Homeless Fonts works with homeless people from the streets of Barcelona to translate the handwriting they use on their signs into typefaces. The hope is that advertising agencies and corporations will use license the resulting works, with the proceeds going back into programs to help the homeless. The results are often distinctive and quite elegant.

Homeless Fonts
Homeless Fonts: Francisco

There are five typefaces from five different people so far, and each is accompanied by beautiful photo portraits and a brief overview of that person’s story. The site also showcases people who are in need of typographers to help them create their own fonts. More at homelessfonts.org.