Like most other design fields, type design has diversity and inclusivity issues. Just like the rest also, communities are actively seeking ways to influence positive change and to set a new standard in our playing fields which is fantastic to see. So not all is lost. The importance of visibility, inclusion and supporting under-represented communities in all spaces is, without a doubt, incredibly significant. Showing creatives that there are people out there who look, sound and come from the same place as them acts as a powerful beacon of hope and inspiration. They can see that if they can do it, so can they. When I started Femme Type, whilst uplifting designers in the community, I could already begin to see the (exciting) chain reaction of positive results as more began to practise the craft and more came into the light, which we celebrated as much as we could. We were beginning to see the value of diversity through these typographic outputs and the people behind them - diluting the pool of the male-dominated circuit that was so highly valued.
Femme Type's mission was and still is to create a space where the typographic contributions of women could be seen, uplifted and valued by the industry. I noticed in 2018 that this group weren't getting talked about enough, and I made it my purpose to find them, champion them and call out the type design industry for its seemingly male-dominated circuit that needed to be diversified. 3 years on, and we've uncovered numerous designers from all walks of life who identify as women or non-binary, which has hopefully (I say boldly), changed the course of history forever about who new designers learn about when studying who came before them. Not only that, but it also offers a diverse and dynamic pool of perspectives and personalities, breaking circles of uniformity.
However, it's not all peaches and cream here. We've still got plenty of work cut out for us as an initiative. Whilst we've found more talents to help diversify the industry, the ethnic demographic of those designers still has a shockingly unbalanced ratio. Finding women and non-binary people of colour who design typefaces/work with type is a challenge, and the literary series Black Designers Forward in Action by Cheryl D. Holmes-Miller offers insightful and valuable perspectives that help explain why this is (from a general design industry perspective). In TYPEONE Magazine's fourth issue, I touched on the three A's, accessibility, affordability and awareness; all three outlined as issues that the type design industry still faces. After identifying them and as an expansion, I've listed a series of suggestions below about how we can make positive changes in our industry today; I hope it inspires you to take action.