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Social Aspects of Type, TilburgsAns and PlovdivTypeface

In the midst of this pandemic year, we’ve all felt the burden of social distancing and self-isolation. We realized how important social structures and community-strengthening projects are. In April 2016, the typeface TilburgsAns was launched by designer Sander Neijnens and illustrator Ivo van Leeuwen. The design is based on the character of Tilburg, Netherlands. The typeface not only contains letters, but also typical Tilburg icons. TilburgsAns is distributed for free as an artistic inquiry to see how type can connect people in a social community. In 2019, the graphic design studios Punkt and Typedepot executed a project as part of the celebration of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, which was named the European Capital of Culture for 2019. In November, they launched PlovdivTypeface, which is based on the analysis of handwritings by more than 3,800 citizens and covers both Cyrillic and Latin. Just like TilburgsAns, PlovdivTypeface is provided to the citizens as a free font. The designers of these typefaces met each in January 2020, and have since worked together frequently; preparing for joint exhibitions and discussions about the relation between social, cultural, linguistic, and aesthetic aspects of type. TilburgsAns and PlovdivTypeface are fundamentally different from other city typefaces that are exclusively designed for the city council, city marketing, or tourist offices. They both use type as an instrument to investigate, visualize, and strengthen the identity of the community. In a joint presentation at ATypI 2020 All Over, the cities of Tilburg and Plovdiv will be introduced by presenting the typefaces that originated from their communities.


Pavel Pavlov

Graphic Designer Pavel Pavlov

Sander Neijnens