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Emil Kozole: Seen

Work / Graphic Design

A typeface that censors itself by CSM grad Emil Kozole

In the week that Instagram banned #curvy, we bring you a typography project that looks at censorship in a way that’s thoughtful, powerful and brilliant executed. Seen was created by Central Saint Martins MA graduate Emil Kozole, and takes the form of a full typeface examining “privacy and the interception of our communications by the NSA,” says Emil. “It automatically strikes through so called ‘spook words’ as they are written.”

These “spook words” are those tracked by the NSA (the US’s National Security Agency) and GCHQ (the UK Government Communications Headquarters), and there’s a mighty big list of them. These range from those you’d expect – explosives, ISIS, anthrax etc – to those we’d have assumed were more benign, like “football” or “badger.”

The typeface can be used in any popular software such as Illustrator, Indesign, Word or in a browser, and looks to “highlight where you are potentially prone to being surveilled whilst also preventing you from potentially being tracked,” according to Emil. It’s a very smart look at a serious issue that manages to be fun, too: the homepage allows users to type directly on to the site, and the “spooks” are automatically deleted as you go. So there’s fun to be had in seeing what you can get away with.

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Emil Kozole: Seen