Back story: You’ve probably seen this ubiquitous design on cars across the country. Most recently, you might have spotted it held up on sticks, writ with emphatic felt tip on makeshift protest signs. “We don’t take any credit for it,” says New York studio Other Means. “A few years ago, we wondered what it would look like to see the characters from the bumper sticker coexisting with the rest of the letters in the alphabet, so we made it into a font.” Since last week, Other Means have updated its shop website so that all of its proceeds go to ACLU.
Why’s it called Coexist? The original design can be traced to a simpler image by the Warsaw-based graphic designer Piotr Młodożeniec in 2001: an image of the word “COEXIST” spelled out with an Islamic crescent moon, a star of David, and a cross. Other Means’ font is “basically the meme version of that original graphic,” extended to cover gender equality, additional faiths, peace, and a yin-yang shaped “S” for tranquillity.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Other than its striking flourishes like the CND symbol, and an interlocking female and male sign springing from the lowercase “e,” the font is basically Akzidenz Grotesk with the C, O, E, X, I, S, and T replaced. Other Means used Akzidenz because it was the closest match to the gender equality “e” of the original graphic.
What should I use it for? On your protest posters! As you can see on the website, a whole range of slogans seem bigger, better, and all around more powerful when they’re set in Coexist. “We’d like to see it used on anything that promotes progressive values, and contributes to getting rid of Trump, Pence, Bannon, and the rest of the creeps running the country,” say Other Means.
At $1.99, it’s also very cheap—cheaper than buying a Sharpie.
Who’s it friends with? Everyone. Coexist does not stand alone. “It’s meant to exist alongside all typefaces,” say Other Means.