From donation initiatives thriving on social media to a wealth of eye-catching posters from leading designers, the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a great number of charitable efforts and creative responses. Graphic designer Raissa Pardini – known for her energetic designs seen across the music industry – is bringing the two together in a new project that puts the fun in fundraising.
The project involved 37 designers, illustrators and lettering artists from around the world – Pardini included – who helped to create a new font called Group. Among the contributors are Aaron Lowell Denton, Sophy Hollington, Gabriel Alcala, Bárbara Malagoli, Dominic Kesterton, Gregory Page, and Fisk Projects. Funds raised from the newly launched typeface will go to the World Health Organisation.
Given that type-based projects involve designing across an entire alphabet, the concept presented an opportunity to work with lots of different creatives and bring together a specific corner of the community in a time of crisis. “There hasn’t been much collective group work [involving typography] going on during Covid, and I thought it would be good to put together all our work and to donate to something that can help,” Pardini says.
The letters are an eclectic mix that do away with many of the standard rules of typography, and instead inject character and artistry into each form in keeping with Pardini’s own artistic approach to typography. “Everyone came back with their own style. Some letters are very illustrative, others are more digital, so it’s quite crazy,” she says.
While most typefaces will feature both upper and lower case designs, Group comprises two sets of caps, meaning that if the same letter is displayed consecutively – the designer offers her own name as a prime example – then there can still be some variety.
The brief was fairly loose in terms of what aesthetic approach the designers took – the only rule was not to evoke the crisis itself. “We had a little mood board which was very neutral – I didn’t want to influence people too much, but also I want people to get away from something that looks like a virus or something that would remind us of anything that is happening now,” Pardini says.
The aim was to avoid “making a font inspired by a virus or even call it a ‘Covid’ sort of name. I wanted to stay away from that negativity and just highlight the fact that we were working all together – that’s why it’s called Group,” she explains.
While different designers focused on specific letters rather than across the entire typeface, Pardini aimed to honour the collaborative nature of the project by not dictating the final outcome: “Of course it wasn’t for me to decide what was good enough or not to keep. This is a collective work, so we had to trust each other.”