The Jupiter Drawing Room (Johannesburg) developed a series of typefaces for Reddam House to celebrate the traditions and cultures of the many diverse children that attend their school. Eleven beautifully illustrated typefaces, each representing one of the official South African languages.
When South Africa become a democracy, it declared eleven official languages to recognise the equal rights and diversity of all. Twenty years later, while the country has united as one, school halls have become filled with children from different backgrounds. But, they don’t know much about each other or where they come from.
As a school group that embraces individuality, this became a concern for Reddam House who believed that many of the children’s traditions were being lost, along with their native tongue, as English has become the primary means of communication.
We were challenged to find a way of inspiring students from a young age to learn about, and appreciate, the many people and cultures of their country.
Our solution was to create “Teaching Typefaces” – a series of eleven dynamic typefaces, each beautifully illustrated and carefully crafted to represent an official langue. Each letter is designed to represent the language it illustrates; and is simultaneously crafted to demonstrate elements of its specific descriptor.
From striking Ndebele patterned letters, to illustrated potjie pots, icons and traditions from all languages and traditions were lovingly represented.
Typefaces were brought to life through various, age-appropriate educational tools for children from Grades 0 – 7 to engage and interact with, and, in doing so, motivate them to learn about and appreciate the many people that make up South Africa. Collateral currently provided to the teachers as learning aids include, but are not limited to: downloadable typeface for use in computer design, puzzles, learning cards, colouring-in pages and posters.
The typefaces have been well received across the schools, both by teachers and students alike because of their power to encourage the understanding, appreciation and acceptance of others. The novel way in which information is disseminated is welcomed and has prompted scholars to become more interested in, and tolerant of, their classmates.