No, a font can NOT be racist: an ongoing report
Been there, answered that! Once again the world needs to know: can a font be racist? Short answer is no.
More via FOXNEWS:
"Typography is language visualized. It documents cultural attitudes and narrates social change," said Sarah Hyndman, graphic designer and author of the book 'Why Fonts Matter'.
Hyndman has spent over 20 years studying fonts and what meanings they portray. She said certain fonts emit emotions while others display characteristics like power or strength. Hyndman also acknowledges that people associate fonts with the messages that are written.
For example, Fraktur is an old style of blackletter font used on Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ and early Nazi letterheads. Because of this, Hyndman said this typeface can often be associated with racism or bigotry.
The FOXNEWS report comes after the accusations made against Chet Hanks, son of Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks, in March 2021.
Hanks received backlash on Twitter due to his new clothing line entitled 'White Boy Summer', a clothing line decorated with the phrase in a blackletter font.
hmm unfortunately the merch looks aggressively racist pic.twitter.com/B49bYztQAv— jos (@josiahhughes) March 30, 2021
Eventually, some Twitter users noted that the specific typeface in use closely resembles the Fraktur font which was used by Nazis.
In fact, as noted by 99 Percent Invisible in this podcast "Fraktur is often associated with being the official Nazi font and is still being used by Neo-Nazi groups in Germany today. The fact that it was, ironically, banned by the Nazi Party is just a part of its long and strange history."
Hanks denied any racism associated with his line in a video posted to Instagram while users on Twitter pointed out that the New York Times and The Washington Post both use custom blackletter fonts as their logos as well, in his defense.
The ongoing debate still stays strong but as Hyndman explains "fonts are not inherently racist, but because humans look for connections between items, our brains may create a relationship between two separate issues."
"It’s not the typefaces that are at fault, it’s the context they’re used in and the associations that are forged through repetition" she adds.
More on the psychology of fonts here.