An activist font designed for our times.
Over our thirties years as an agency developing branding for clients across almost every sector we’ve seen, used and designed alot of fonts, but never have we seen anything quite like this. TietoEVRY, a leading Nordic digital services and software company, has launched an initiative against cyberbullying co-developed with teenagers. The Polite Type is an open-source font that rewrites hurtful words and replaces them with more considerate ones to ignite anti-bullying discussion.
Young people’s social encounters are increasingly taking place online, which makes cyber bullying a more common phenomenon. This initiative specifically addresses online language usage by pointing out offensive language and directing users to choose their words better. The Polite Type is a font that has been taught to recognize and rewrite cyber bullying and hate speech. In practice, it is harder to write hateful English-language words, as the font automatically replaces them with more inclusive ones. When installed, The Polite Type appears in users’ font libraries and can be used in commonly used text editing software, also offline. The font is freely downloadable and can be used, for example, as an educational tool by parents or by teachers.
“Through this concrete action our purpose is to promote equality and inclusion. We want bullies to rethink the words they use and the actual meaning behind them. Inclusion, diversity and the upmost respect for people are at the core of our values at TietoEVRY. The Polite Type supports our vision of creating a safe and equal environment with digital solutions” says Kia Haring, global head of communication and sustainability at TietoEVRY.
“Bullying is especially damaging when it comes to children and young people. Young people don’t have the same psychological tools as adults do to deal with hateful comments, and it can leave long-lasting emotional scars. I hope that our cause acts as a wake-up call for all audiences to consider how bullying could be tackled. Being polite and respectful should be the default option whether online or offline,” Haring continues.
The Polite Type has been developed in close collaboration with a diverse team with backgrounds in anti-racism and inclusion. Michaela Moua, a Senior Officer at the Office of the Non-discrimination Ombudsman; Jonna Louvrier, a Diversity and Inclusion Consultant with a background in research at Stanford University; and Inklusiiv, a non-profit community with a mission to advance diversity and inclusion in the working environment. Together with TietoEVRY, they now invite individuals, developers and tech companies worldwide to further develop the font and join the cause against bullying and discrimination.
As big fans of custom type design, we take our hats off to this piece of brilliant and innovative brand creativity.
“We alone can’t solve this issue, but we can raise awareness – and maybe we can inspire new and improved ideas. The font is open-source, anyone with the capabilities to help and improve is welcome to do so,” concludes Haring.
Truly Deeply is an Australian-based branding agency with 30 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. Our deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. We have a deep expertise working with corporate, retail, food & beverage, health and property clients. Find out more here
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The Polite Type font can be tested and downloaded at www.thepolitetype.com
Pics courtesy TietoEVRY.