2018 is a landmark year for Lithuania. On 16 February, the small Baltic nation will celebrate 100 years of independence. However, in the turmoil of ensuing wars and Soviet occupation, the Independence Act was lost and only recently found in Germany’s archives.
In order to resolve this situation and bring the Act back to the Lithuanian people, local design studio Folk has recreated the font used in the original Independence Restoration Act that was signed by 20 people in 1918. Titled Signato, the typeface was developed by Eimantas Paskonis who spent four months redrawing every letter with precision. In order to do so, the typographer also referenced several additional written works by Jurgis Šaulys who wrote the Independence Restoration Act. Eimantas created a total of 450 characters so that “the computer can simulate it as if a typeface as written by a person.”
Signato will be available for anyone to download, although is not intended for commercial use. Instead, its creation is intended to empower a nation that is turning another page in its history. Alongside the development of the typeface, Lithuanians around the world will be asked to sign the online version of the reinstated Independence Act using Signato, thus becoming co-signatories of the Act, figuratively returning it to the Lithuanian people.
“The significance of the Independence Act for the people of Lithuania is indescribable: our freedom, coded in each line, word, letter, or even its curvature encodes our freedom. We wanted to pull the independence out of the glass-protected display and pass it on to people so that they can use it, share it and create a future story,” Ignas Kozlovas, creative director of Folk agency explains. “Freedom is not a document, freedom is an opportunity to express and share your thoughts with others around the world,” he adds.
The country’s Prime Minister has vouched to use the typeface for the entire year, as have several official institutions. Full of personality and history, the script typeface uses Latin, German and Lithuanian alphabets and a video of its creation can be below.
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Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.