When you walk by a homeless person on the sidewalk holding a cardboard sign, you might see an anonymous face struggling to survive. When the team at the Arrels Foundation see those people, however, they see artists.
Coupled with the brainpower at Cyranos McCann advertising agency, the Barcelona-based homeless center launched HomelessFonts.org. The website features fonts created using the handwriting of local homeless people, ready for purchase by marketers aiming to personalize their brands, according to Osocio.
Revenue raised through HomelessFonts goes toward the foundation, which offers accommodation, food, social programs and health care to those it services. Last year, the organization worked with 1,354 people -- nearly half of Barcelona's 3,000 homeless.
"Each human being's handwriting is unique," the video explains. "Yet the homeless write signs that no one wants to see. The same thing that helped them beg in the street could now help them to leave it behind."
So far, 10 individuals are featured on the website, and five of their fonts are for sale.
Loraine Halgabary, who is originally from London, has a typeface for purchase on HomelessFonts.org. In a video highlighting her story, Halgabary said her passport was stolen and used for something illegal while she was in Barcelona on vacation. Stranded in a foreign country unable to access any resources at home, she began sleeping in a warehouse. The video shows Halgabary happily holding a bottle of wine with her font on it in front of an entire display of identical product.
The team at the Arrels Foundation aren't the only ones who see the artistic potential in the most vulnerable among us. Willie Baronet, an advertising professor, began buying signs held by homeless people on the streets in 1993 and, after years of contemplating what to do with them, produced an art exhibit to build awareness for the homelessness crisis. (See slideshow below).
Visit HomelessFonts.org to learn more about their mission.
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