Monday, July 15, 2024

Seyi Olusanya’s New Danfo Typeface is Inspired by Lagos’ Iconic Danfo Buses

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A typical day for a Lagosian – both the dealer getting back from the meals market in mile 12 with their items or the 9-5er leaving Gbagada to Lekki – possible includes utilizing the business bus, Danfo. For over 4 a long time, Danfo has been a staple and the preferred mode of transportation inside Africa’s biggest city, Lagos.

Ask any Lagosian, and that is how they’ll describe the bus to you: It’s painted in yellow, a brilliant shade of yellow I wish to name the Danfo yellow, with two lengthy vertical black strips that run in the midst of its physique. It carries between 14-18 passengers and is steered by a rugged relationship between its driver and its conductor, as they sprint by way of the ever-busy streets of Lagos.

However whereas Danfo is a way of transportation to many, Seyi Olusanya turns our consideration to a novel function of the buses: the unmissable inscriptions plastered on their our bodies in daring, cut-out fonts. In style sayings like “In God We Belief,” “No Situation Is Everlasting” “No Hurry In Life” “The Wealthy Additionally CryNo Meals For Lazy Man” “Forgive and Neglect” “Allahu Akbar” “One Love” “Cry Your Personal Cry” “Good Luck,” and many others displayed on these buses by way of brightly colored stickers. Reduce from distinctive and attention-grabbing fonts, these messages loaded with on a regular basis knowledge demand immediate consideration. It’s nearly as in the event that they’re saying, “Learn me, you will need to learn me!”

For Seyi, the Danfo bus is a palette of inspiration to create a brand new typeface, which he rightly names Danfo. “Someday in 2018, I needed to create a type-led poster impressed by Danfo buses, however I couldn’t discover a appropriate font wherever. This was stunning to me as a result of these stickers are so frequent. I assumed they have been printing one thing that already existed and modifying it with customized cut-outs,” he tells calabargist.

And that was the start of the creation of the typeface. He started visiting bus parks to take pictures and research the doc the distinctive kinds of cut-out lettering. “I needed to be taught one thing new, and constructing a typeface felt difficult, so I took it up,” he says.

Seyi created Danfo Std in 2018. Nonetheless, he was all the time pushed to enhance it. “I all the time needed to enhance Danfo Std,” he says. “I constructed the preliminary Danfo with little theoretical or sensible information—simply starvation and uncooked willpower. I knew its building could possibly be higher. There have been no numbers and no punctuation. Google offered my crew with many assets, making it the proper time.”

Seyi prioritises inclusivity in his typeface designs. Danfo helps over 900 languages, together with your complete Google sub-Saharan African character set. This complete help goes past simply assembly Google Fonts’ necessities. It displays his dedication to exporting African tradition by way of his design firm, Afrotype.

“The extra languages a typeface helps,” he explains, “the extra various the individuals who can use it. So, proper from the start, I believed it needed to make sure that all our typefaces comprise full character units with nice language help. Working with Google Fonts helped us with the construction to do this to a excessive customary.”

One ongoing problem within the design world is making certain inclusivity. Whereas typefaces are the visible constructing blocks of language, most commercially out there fonts come from Western nations. This creates a state of affairs the place African designers usually have restricted choices that really replicate their cultural id.

For instance, think about a model in Lagos attempting to create a advertising and marketing marketing campaign that resonates with a neighborhood viewers. If all of the out there typefaces have a European aesthetic, it could really feel like a disconnect. It is a problem Seyi is obsessed with addressing.

“Typefaces are the bodily kind our phrases take. Most commercially out there typefaces are British, American, and Swiss. Often, these typefaces replicate respective cultures, even when designed to be “impartial”. I’ve designed model identities for the higher a part of the final decade, working with many African shoppers, and we used typefaces that weren’t African, even when these manufacturers needed to resonate deeply with an African viewers. This made me uncomfortable. It felt dishonest, however we had no alternative. Now that type-design assets are extra available, it appears like the right time for an African-type design renaissance. That is what we’re witnessing for the time being.”

His imaginative and prescient extends past letters on a web page. He sees kind design as a strong instrument for cultural expression, influencing not simply written communication, however the general presentation of African id on the worldwide stage.

“We’re consistently exporting tradition. Presentation is a giant deal. Globally exported African expertise is deep and genuine. These qualities should translate to advertising and marketing and communication. Nice kind design is the best way to go.

There’s the problem of the cliche patterns and angular display-type remedy that the remainder of the world recognises as African. These parts are so frequent and dependable that even Africans who might need initially hesitated have come to simply accept them. We’d like extra choices, extra selection, and extra authenticity. Expressive kind is an effective way to handle all of those points.

Whereas Danfo has garnered plenty of consideration, Seyi and his firm, Afrotype, are already trying forward. He tells calabargist about some upcoming tasks and typeface designs within the pipeline.

“Other than Danfo, we additionally designed Tac, a single-weight typeface impressed by the wordmark from Festac ’77. That’s additionally on Google Fonts. We are going to construct extra weights for Tac and possibly even a stencil model. We additionally intend to construct a list of Danfo typefaces, at the very least one with shadows. The present Danfo is the bottom. We’re additionally engaged on a typeface tentatively named Isale Eko Slab, which is impressed by Lagos Island’s dense structure. Thrilling occasions!”

So the following time you design one thing and yearn to infuse it with African tradition, you may have a strong instrument at your fingertips. Because of Seyi and Afrotype, a typeface that really embodies your heritage awaits you.

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