Back Story: High Hope is the product of a one-day typography workshop offered in conjunction with the exhibition, ‘Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18’ at The Design Museum in London. Fraser Muggeridge of the seven-person design firm in London that bears his name led the workshop in accordance with the principles important to his own work. He describes these on his website as: “Prioritize artists’ and writers’ content over the imposition of a signature style, and allow images and texts to sustain their own intent and impact, [so that] each project is approached with typographic form and letterform playing a key role in arriving at a sympathetic yet subtly alluring object.”
Participants in the June workshop were asked to create a collaborative typeface based on type elements they observed on a ‘Type Safari’ through the exhibition. They photographed and sketched letterforms to use as starting points, and hand-drew their own characters before cutting them out of brightly colored paper. To keep the letterforms alive for the computer version that was created later, Muggeridge says, “Everything was digitalized in a quick, crude, and spirited way.” The only rule that participants needed to follow? Follow set constraints of x height, cap height, and stem width.
Why’s it called High Hope? The name is a mashup of The Design Museum’s address on Kensington High Street and the exhibition’s title.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? This typeface is not a unified design—how could it possibly be, given its democratic, crowdsourced nature? As such, its distinguishing characteristics are its lack of formality and consistency. It moves between serif/san serif and upper/lower case with few commonalities among the characters besides the imposed restraints (some of which appear to have been fudged a bit: there is definitely some variation in the stem widths). The alphabet shares a visual sensibility with the punk gig posters and zines of the 1990s: its of-the-moment spontaneity thumbs its nose at the rules of formal type design that requires countless hours of careful research, development, and refinement.
“High Hope feels a little bit punk-y and full of hope thanks to its naive approach,” says Muggeridge. “If a participant didn’t get around to designing a lower case c, we just used the upper case C.”
What should I use it for? For protest graphics. Download here for free!
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? “Entirely up to the designer using it!” Muggeridge says. Or may we suggest something very rational like Gill Sans Nova?