Rick Banks’ type foundry F37 and the New York office of international agency Jones Knowles Ritchie last week reacted at breakneck creative speed to make a typeface based on Trump’s instantly infamous Quid Pro Quo notes. Revealed casually during a statement to the press, the president’s handwritten, felt tip pen scrawl went viral and almost eclipsed the statement itself, which saw him address Gordon Sondland’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee that Ukraine was tied to a quid pro quo. His notes read: “I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NOTHING. I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO. TELL ZELLINSKY TO DO THE RIGHT THING. THIS IS THE FINAL WORD FROM THE PRESS OF THE U.S.”
Like a moth to a flame, the creative team couldn’t let a such a high-profile typographic moment pass on by. JKR got in touch with Banks with an idea and a tight deadline. “I got a text message at 9pm, saying ‘we want to make a typeface from Trump’s handwriting in 24 hours. Can you do it?’” Banks tells It’s Nice That. “I said yes without a brief, and (as JKR are in New York) I woke up to a longer brief, which included swapping out lots of words with Open Type, which is a lot more tricky.”
Up for a challenge, Banks set about creating the typeface called Quid Pro Sans, which not only transforms Trump’s handwriting to a usable typeface – including multiple versions of the same letter, as per his inconsistent penmanship – but also autocorrects up to 100 words with comically Trumpian replacements. For example, “thing” changes to “no collusion”, “KKK” to “fine people” and (of particular hilarity to us) “nice” to “moron”.
To accurately represent his idiosyncratic script, Banks referred to other samples of Trump’s handwriting online, alongside the Quid Pro Quo notes. There are multiple ligatures for the same letterforms – for instance if you type the letter “i” more than once, the second “i” will look different to the first. “He always seems to use a huge felt tip pen, weirdly,” Banks says of his research into Trump’s note writing, “and a lot of the letterforms are different. They’re always uppercase – he seems to have an upper-upper case and a lower-upper case. Some of the forms are almost painted, and he uses this elongated tail on his ‘e’. Also, his writing and signature seems to have got more erratic over time. It’s an interesting insight into the mind of Donald Trump.”
The typeface is available for use online and for download via the dedicated website, www.finalwordfromthepres.com, and while it is technically free, JKR is suggesting the public pay a “quid pro quo” in the form of a donation to the ACLU, “since nothing in life is ever truly free”. The agency is encouraging people to use the font to make posters, which it did this past weekend around New York (see below).
Banks has previously reacted to Trump using type, helping create a typeface to raise money for charities affected by his administration.
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