Tre Seals' Vocal Type transforms people's voices to letterforms
A graphic designer specializing in the areas of branding, print design, and typography Seals was born in the 90s. On a constant adventure to find inspiration wherever he can, Seals spent the first decade of his life drawing. Eventually his hobby became a skill and his passion a profession.
Having been born in the nation’s capital, raised on a farm in Maryland, and traveled between there and Louisiana to visit family, he drew most of his inspiration from these contrasting environments and experiences evolving his style that is equal parts vintage and contemporary. Yet, what makes Seals' work interesting is the symbolism infused in his portfolio.
“Every major revolution, no matter the cause, those changes happened by economic and social shifts brought about by the people's voices, and those things weren't voted for. Those voices are what inspire Vocal” he says of his new project aka Vocal Type, a type foundry which specializes in the recreation and adaption of typography made for cause and advocacy marketing efforts throughout world history in hopes of creating a global aesthetic.
Vocal Type beliefs are straight-forward and human-centered. “People Matter. Design Matters. You Matter” is VT's motto. Therefore the type foundry's fonts are a tribute to historic movements and people that disrupted the system.
Martin is a font based on the protest signs carried by the followers of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the memphis sanitation strike of 1968.
“Memphis sanitation workers, the majority of them African American, went out on strike on February 12, 1968, demanding recognition for their union, better wages, and safer working conditions after two trash handlers were killed by a malfunctioning garbage truck. As it dragged on through March, with the Memphis mayor refusing to negotiate, the strike gained national attention. As they marched, striking workers carried copies of a poster declaring I AM A MAN, a statement that recalled a question abolitionists posed more than 100 years earlier.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. joined the cause, speaking to a crowd of 6,000 in late March and returning on April 3rd to deliver one of his most famous speeches, I’ve Been to the Mountaintop. King placed the strike in a larger context, declaring, “The masses of people are rising up.”
King was assassinated at Memphis’s Lorraine Motel the next night, just one day before a massive rally was planned.
On April 8, four days after King’s assassination, his widow, Coretta Scott King, led some 20,000 marchers through the streets of Memphis, holding copies of another poster that read, HONOR KING: END RACISM! The strike ended on April 16, with the city agreeing to union recognition and raises.
Bayard is a unique sans-serif typeface inspired by signs from the 1963 March On Washington For Jobs and Freedom, James is a stencil font family inspired by signs carried during one of the demonstrations that led to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Eva is a font family inspired by banners carried during a1957 women’s demonstration in Buenos Aires in front of the National Congress By Law For Universal Suffrage, Rúben is a font inspired by the journalist and crusader for Latino rights, Rúben Salizar and Carrie is inspired by by skilled political strategist, suffragist, and peace activist, Carrie Chapman Catt who led New York’s 1915 suffrage parade, the largest held in the city until that time.
“When a singular perspective dominates an industry, regardless of any advancements in technology, there can (and has been) only one way thinking, teaching, and creating. This lack of diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender, has led to a lack of diversity in thought, systems (like education), ideas, and, most importantly, creations” writes Seals in his statement.
“I decided to find a way to increase diversity and empathy in the design industry. I knew I couldn’t just change the demographics or the education system. So I tried to figure out a way to introduce a non-stereotypical piece of minority culture into the design itself, starting with the basis of any good design — typography” he adds.
As noted nearly 84% of all designers in America are white and until recently, the majority of all designers in America were men. Diversity has always been a neglected issue in the design industry and Vocal is here to shout it loud.
“When an industry is dominated by a single race and gender, this not only creates a lack of diversity in peoples and experiences but ideas and creations as well. That’s why Vocal Type is working to diversify design through the root of all (good) works of graphic design—typography” states the type foundry's manifesto that provides a lesson in history as each typeface highlights a piece of history from a specific underrepresented race, ethnicity, or gender—from the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Argentina to the Civil Rights Movement in America.
So let type talk & enter Seals relevant as ever and inspiring type design project here.