News / Graphic Design

Typeface released to honour LGBT activist, artist and rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker

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NYC Pride and NewFest have worked with Ogilvy & Mather’s design team and foundry Fontself to create a typeface inspired by the artist and LGBT activist Gilbert Baker, who recently passed away aged 66. Gilbert was known as creator of the rainbow flag in 1978, as well as many protest banners over his life, so the typeface both emulates his work and allows it to be continued through its application to posters.

The typeface, named Gilbert, “follows the design language” of the rainbow flag, with each character featuring a combination of vivid colours from the flag. The different coloured sections of the letterforms are semi-transparent, so when overlaid show a combined colour on the intersections. Made up of flat, chunky strokes in curvy shapes, the face is at once impactful, fun and celebratory.

Ogilvy says it was designed for “striking headlines and statements that could live on banners for rallies and protests,” and is being built out into a family of weights and styles. It is available in a standard vector font and colour font, currently only usable in Photoshop CC 2017, and beta versions can be downloaded for free. The Type With Pride site also offers free downloadable artwork featuring the typeface, for use at pride events and rallies.

“We are all driven by the same passion for self-expression and creativity,” says the team, explaining that the typeface will be iterated based on the feedback of the community and the development process will be documented openly online.

“We wanted to create something special that would not just honour Gilbert and his iconic rainbow flag but also give the LGBTQ community a fantastic tool to help them create their own banners, posters and signs,” says the Ogilvy team. “People can now raise the rainbow flag with every letter they type. By literally embedding the rainbow flag into the font we made it possible for everyone around the world to type with pride.”

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Ogilvy & Mather, NYC Pride, NewFest, Fontself: Gilbert

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