Fonts for charity?

Queneau's picture

I'm not sure what to make of this. It is a pretty crappy handwriting font, one you could find by the millions on freefont sites. It has no special features, no ligatures, nothing to make it stick out form all other handwriting fonts. More authentic would be to just write something yourself, it would be prettier too, and just as (il)legible. I mean, not to slag of using fonts for a good cause, and I understand the concept, but is this all you can come up with? Why not work with a typedesigner with an interest in the cause and work with him/her to create something that has actual typographic value.

I don't see people buying it for these fonts, why should I not donate to this cause directly, and just leave the fonts to be? It's like the homeless guy selling ugly postcards, and I tend to give him some money, but tell him he can keep the cards for himself. I don't want to be unreasonable, but surely, if one wants to use the selling of fonts to raise funds and grab attention for a cause, it should at least be a decent quality font, right?

Nick Shinn's picture

It’s not really about the font design, but the fact that it’s based on the handwriting of the person/figurehead symobolizing and humanizing the charity. They’re looking for potential sponsors to make an empathic connection with the celebrity victim (that may seem a cycnical assessment, but this is after all money-raising marketing that uses emotional exploitation and sex appeal to compete with other worthy causes).

Queneau's picture

I still don't see how making a rather crappy handwriting font conversion (surely she did not write in italic, bold and bold italic...?) is helping the cause. The handwriting is pretty ordinary, so it would only work if you keep telling people it's this persons handwriting. Would people really do that? I understand the marketing perspective behind it all, but I don't think the people behind this understand the font market. Like I said, even for a handwriting conversion, this culd be so much better, as has been proven by many other fonts. Now if they would use it for printed materials or website of the charity it would perhaps make more sens, but selling it like this...?

Chris G's picture

Do you seriously think they're playing the sex appeal card here? Really?

Nick Shinn's picture

This is a delicate matter, I’m starting to realize, due to the involvement of her brother as the type designer, and I apologize if I’m being inconsiderate.
You’re right Jeffrey, the type could have been better done, but frankly I don’t think he could have produced the quality of design you’d like to have seen, based on the fonts that he has published. I can understand that he would want to do this as his tribute to her, and make her look good in the banner ad, but he was probably too close to do his best creative direction and contract out design where necessary—it happens in self-publishing, especially in the graphic design industry. I’ve produced quite a few font promotions for myself that in retrospect would have been better if someone else had done them. Pro bono work, too, can often lack the rigor of what takes place in a more formal professional process.

Nick Shinn's picture

Chris, this is a glamour shot of Anne Hubbard.
Lots of eye shadow and artfully dishevelled hairstyle.
It is not the kind of photo that would be used for an appointment notice, for instance.
The design of the banner ad is too “retail-ish” for the seriousness of the subject matter; the outlined type and vignetted dropshadow on a pink background is way too tacky.
Sorry if this is insensitive, but this is a design forum.
Would I be wrong if the ad works, the font sells, and money is raised for a charity?
Does the end justify the means?

Queneau's picture

I think the design of it all is indeed not fitting for the serious subject, I'm not saying it should be looking like a gravestone, or something very depressive. But it should communicatea clear message, with fitting means, this tries to cater to the market, by imitation. Probably this has to do with, as Nick mentions, the self-publishing aspect of it. Probably he wanted to do it, and the association decided to go along with it (why not, it does no harm). But with more distance, reflection, better art direction and clear objectives, this could have been much stronger.

Another thought that came to me, is that it seems like the font-buying public seems big enough to release a font for charity. It sure has grown, but still, it seems to me to be rather a niche market, with the biggest buyers being the big corporations (multi-seat licensing etc), not individuals. Many individual designers still don't know one pays to use a font (trust me, I have seem many examples), so why would those that do buy fonts pay this kind of money, when there are so much better fonts around, at a lower price, or even for free. But obviously it says even more about the fact that making a font is really so easy, that everyone can do it.

I believe that if they insisted to release the font in this state, they should have made it donation-wareat a pay-what you-want model, and present it on a seperate website, let all the world know about the backstory to get people to the site. I believe this would also make the whole thing more effective.

JamesM's picture

I don't think it's a "glamour shot"; to me it looks like an ordinary snapshot.

I Googled her obituary and the photo was of poor quality, so the family apparently had a limited selection of shots. She had anorexia so she probably didn't like being photographed.

I think we should cut the designer some slack.

.

Queneau's picture

I don't want to slag of the designer, perse, he is her brother, I respect the fact that he wants to make the font. I just don't think that as a strategy to raise awareness and funds for a cause, this is done well, and that a lot more possibilities are there if one wants to go down this route.

JamesM's picture

> I just don't think that as a strategy to raise awareness
> and funds for a cause, this is done well

I doubt if he views it as a big campaign to raise awareness and funds. It's just a way to memorialize his sister, and if it happens to raise a few bucks, he'll give it to charity.

Nick Shinn's picture

I don't think it's a "glamour shot"; to me it looks like an ordinary snapshot.

It’s a moot point.
That’s why Anorexia is a predominantly female illness.

Chris G's picture

You've put your foot in your mouth twice here. Firstly by stating that this woman's brother is exploiting sex appeal to promote awareness of anorexia, and secondly by defining a glamour shot as a photo where the subject is wearing eye makeup and has styled hair. No wonder you're so keen to shout 'moot!'

Nick Shinn's picture

We’ll, I won’t argue the point further.

oldnick's picture

ALL PROCEEDS, if true, is pretty rare for generating charitable contributions.

But, then, free unlimited ultimate maximum?

Syndicate content Syndicate content