Name: Defiantly Different
Designers: Han Lin, Brianna DiFelice, and Juliano Domingues
Foundry: Grey Advertising
Release Date: June 2018
Back Story: How can a designer possibly hope to create a typeface representative of every individual within the LGBTQIA+ community? After all, the group is practically defined by its diversity, made up of a mix of people spanning a vast range of age, gender, appearance, race, nationality, religion, and lifestyle. For NYC Pride’s 2018 celebration, Grey Advertising’s design team—in collaboration with freelance creative director Bryce Aviano—created a visual identity and campaign based on the year’s official theme: Defiantly Different. Grey chose to include the idea of defiance—the standing up for rights and equality in the face of opposition—as an integral part of this year’s campaign along with an embrace of being “different.” And, of course, a feeling of jubilance and celebration as well. Central to this identity is DD Bold, a custom typeface that draws inspiration from the DIY posters seen at protests that began at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn in 1969.
Why’s it called Defiantly Different? The campaign typography was designed to reflect the diversity of LGBTQIA+ people, and the name is meant to speak to the unyielding individuality within the community. Grey intended for the identity to accurately reflect the many facets within the group. The hope was also that it would serve as a rallying cry for previous generations who laid the groundwork for equality, as well as for the next generations carrying the torch forward.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? This dynamic typeface features multiple forms of each letter, representing the multifaceted diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community. Letterform shapes cover a wide spectrum: some are heavy and filled in, some are kinky (backwards and upside down). Still others are graceful, sharp edged, softly rounded, exuberantly fancy, or quietly plain—yet the typeface holds together well as a family. “We created multiple variants for each glyph, and juxtaposed them to maximize variety for each character,” says Graham Nolan, a senior vice president and director at Grey. “Pride is a celebration as much as it is a statement, so the letterforms balance protest origins with fun and quirky contours. Each letter is a riff on a familiar form, expressed with a visual personality that is at once unique, but also celebratory.”
What should I use it for? DD Bold is loud and bold, and varied enough to easily manifest multiple expressions of the same phrase. It works best with short bits of language, making it strikingly effective as a display face for posters and editorial design.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? “We prefer to use it with a uniform mono typeface—the uniformity offers contrast and highlights the letterforms,” Nolan says. Try it with Production Type’s Stratos. DD Bold packs a lot of personality, so we also suggest a sans serif with personality of its own, such as Schwiss (a modern Helvetica-Akzidenz hybrid) from London’s A2-Type foundry.