New York-based type foundry Sharp Type has launched a new scholarship to provide female designers of colour with financial help and mentorship to pursue a career in type design. The $6,000 Malee Scholarship will be award annually to a woman of colour aged between 16 and 29, either based in the US or internationally.
“Women have long played an important role in the world of type design and continue to make great contributions to the type field,” a statement from the Sharp team reads. “Yet a lack of cultural, ethnic, and gender diversity still exists in the industry, which if reversed could unearth new innovations and unanticipated opportunities.”
The team behind the award are open for the prize money to be spent in whatever way best helps the designers further their career, “from paying rent while they finish designing their typeface, to attending a type-design programme where they can hone their typography skills,” the team says. Alongside financial assistance, designers awarded the scholarship will also receive desk space at Sharp’s studio, as well as professional and creative mentorship. As well as creative potential, candidates will also be assessed on their leadership potential, with the hope that the skills learned will pass on to a cause or community that they are passionate about.
“Speaking as a female ethnic minority, it has always been of personal interest to fight and advocate for social justice,” says Chantra Malee Montoya-Pimolwatana, the co-founder of Sharp Type. “There has been a lot of momentum for that in this cultural moment, and we wanted to do our part to help people from underrepresented communities find a voice in our industry.”