This Happened

Graphic Designers Finally Solve Homelessness Using Twee Fonts

The homeless are people, not bottles of Kombucha.
Typography schmypography, this guy's hat is clearly the star of the show. (Screengrab: Fastcodesign.com)

Typography schmypography, this guy’s hat (“Mike Hunt”) is clearly the star of the show. (Screengrab: Fastcodesign.com)

If there’s one thing the homeless could use, it’s some snazzy typography.

Food, water, shelter and healthcare would be nice, too–but a couple of graphic designers believe bright colors and cool fonts just might be the gateway to a comfortable life.

From Fast Co.:

“A collaboration between artist Kenji Nakayama and Christopher Hope,the Signs for the Homeless project exchanges handwritten panhandling signs for colorfully illustrated, eye-catching recreations that aim to give the homeless a power that most of us take for granted: The power to be noticed.”

Hold up. Has anyone ever not noticed a homeless person? They’re generally pretty tough to miss. Either way, the artists believe people don’t take homeless people’s signs seriously because of the way the signs look.

“Culturally, most of us don’t want to think of the message scrawled in Sharpie on a mottled piece of cardboard as the voice of another person,” Fast Co. reports. So the solution, apparently, is to sanitize the homemade signs by making them look like some kind of faux-DIY vegan donut poster, thereby making the sign’s bearer appear even more disheveled in comparison. Reminds us of a certain SXSW plot gone wrong.

The artists’ intentions are good, but Fast Co. points out that it “isn’t clear-cut” whether or not the signs are helping people–at least one of the homeless people involved in the project decided not to use her sign, and the signs could always get stolen.

But the artists involved feel the point is to “give the homeless back their voice and humanity” through good design, proving once more that sometimes graphic designers can take their profession a tiny little bit too seriously.

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