15 November 2016

Start a revolution – with Comic Sans

Could fonts have played a part in the spread of punk culture, or in Donald Trump’s recent election win?

Comic Sans

Sarah Hyndman holds workshops and events teaching the art of typography and deconstructing the power of design. Her ‘Never Mind The Typography’ exhibition outlines how punk’s core elements of angst and rebellion were expressed in every part of the counterculture, even in the lettering displayed on album covers, on posters and in zines.

But the implications go beyond punk and into the mainstream, with Hyndman looking at how Trump’s recent campaign used specific design techniques to get his point across. “He hasn’t just whacked Arial on a word document, but, I think it’s all designed to look like he had. It’s all created to look very un-designed, to make it look anti-establishment and anti-corporate. In contrast, everything Hillary is putting out is very designed. Obama’s stuff was very beautifully designed, but we all know the designers involved in all of Obama’s stuff. Whereas Trump, you can’t find out who they are, they’re anonymous. That’s how he literally is embodying the ‘voice of the voiceless’, by making it look cheap and DIY. And it’s all shouting, all upper case. It kind of reflects the way he talks really quite well.”

“I was thinking the other day that ultimate rebellion is if we all start using Comic Sans. The ugliest thing you can do. But the whole point of rebelling with type is that firstly you look at what’s the context, so with Punk the context was modernism, and what do you do that’s different. I think that spirit (of Punk) will always prevail and I really hope we are about to enter a new era of, well it won’t be called punk, but it’s something. Something that’s a DIY movement, everybody rebelling against this awful corporate monster that’s taking over.”

Read the full piece in Dazed here, and see The Graphics of Punk exhibition at the Museum of Brands, Notting Hill until January 29th 2017.