The devastation left by Cyclone Nargis across Burma has galvanized many members of the creative community into action. Last month we covered Shilo's video for MTV, and last week saw the launch of book bringing together the talents of fifty top designers and studios -- including Stefan Sagmeister, Wim Crouwel, Eboy, The Designers Republic and Pentagram -- from which all the proceeds go to UNICEF.
Fifty Designers' Current Favourite Typefaces was created by James West. In the blurb on the inside cover he says: "I first thought about putting this book together when I was trying to get to sleep one night. It seemed such a good way to easily raise some money for UNICEF that I felt I would be letting everyone down if I didn't actually see it through. It was one of those ideas that takes a second to conceive, and then weeks of emails and phone calls to actually produce – but everyone was eager to contribute and help out, and for that I am grateful.
"A template page was sent to everyone, and the pages in this book are exactly what I received back. Hopefully as well as raising some cash, this book also provides an intriguing glimpse into what typefaces are in designers' minds at the moment. I like to think of it like a slice of typography pie that's specific to what's liked and used right now. Thanks for buying it (and if you haven't bought it yet, don't be cheap – fork out £3, it all goes to UNICEF). You know you want to."
He's right. For less than the price of a latté, you can get your hands on a simple book of type idea from some of the world's foremost design talent – and contribute to helping a wrecked country through near-impossible times.
I do have to ask, though, why does Burma bring out such a strong reaction from creatives, when other places receive much less of our attention? Is it because we believe that we have help, as Burma's ruling junta couldn't care less, or is it just that as hippy liberals we're already emotionally involved with the country and its black-&-white political situation, which is only matched by Tibet and Zimbabwe for its clear sense of right and wrong? (Shilo was already working on its spot with a political message when the hurricane hit). Or is anything that gets us to contribute to those in pain a good thing anyway?