A new font is designed to take over websites and newspapers for World Stroke Day 2019.
There are a lot of gimmicky, high-concept free fonts out there, but rarely do any have any purpose beyond artistic merit.
Enter Kristina Bold, the brainchild of creative duo Sherwin + Conrad in collaboration with stroke survivor Kristina, whose handwriting was digitised for the typeface.
In 2013, Kristina suffered a life-changing stroke, losing many cognitive abilities such as the ability to write. Ever since, Kristina has striven to teach herself to write again, recently winning this fight between mind and body.
Inspired by her determination, Sherwin + Conrad created the font using their graphic design expertise from London's Central Saint Martins.
"I met Kristina for the first time about a year ago," explains Conrad. "It was when I went to visit my girlfriend Sara’s home in Sweden for the first time.
"They told me the story of her stroke over dinner. It was really scary to hear something like that can just completely blindside you and flip your life upside down.
"(One day) Sara’s dad came into the kitchen at breakfast, wearing a t-shirt that Kristina had hand-written. It said 'Ge aldrig upp' (never give up), and I was like 'Fuck. That’s cool.' It hit me super hard and from there, it just felt like the natural thing that had to be done. So I started thinking about it, spoke to Sara and Kristina, dropped Sherwin a message and we got on it."
Chatting to Kristina via Facetime with Sara's aid, the survivor wrote down characters in English and Swedish, before scanning and emailing over to Conrad and Sherwin.
"It was interesting to us to look at typography as the creative expression itself and not just a way to supplement other designs," Conrad continues.
"Kristina Bold is intended to be a message of hope and defiance to others either affected by strokes or people with those close to them who have.
"When you lose the ability to do something that was once so simple, I’m sure it’s fucking easy to feel hopeless. But, Kristina’s proof that if you really fight for it, you can take it back. It’s fucking badass."
But the duo's mission doesn't stop there, for the ultimate aim is to get publications and newspapers to change their front page typeface to Kristina Bold this World Stroke Day 2019, October 29th.
"We’d also just love to see other designers use the typeface to make work that means something to them," Conrad stresses. "We all want to see Kristina get her ability 100% back, so we’d love to make this a progressive thing and revisit it next year."
"I thought it was a good idea and a good way to inspire others in the same situation," Kristina herself adds. "When half of your body goes paralysed, so does half of your brain. So I used learning apps for children and practiced every day with my family. I also used online newspapers that are specifically made for stroke victims where you can read the news but they’re simplified.
"For me giving up was never an option, I was determined to make things go back to how they used to be."
"(Contributing to the font) was quite a challenging but very fun experience. It was interesting to see how it works when you create a typeface and the result was really powerful."
"I hope (the font) helps people continue to fight to take back what they’ve lost. I want other victims to not be ashamed of their struggles and of course, to never give up."
Download the font free here to make a message like the above.