This Clever Font Autocorrects How We Talk About The Refugee Crisis

"Common Sans" hopes to reinforce a refugee's first status as "human."

Last year, the U.N. estimated the number of refugees and asylum seekers has surpassed 65 million for the first time in recent history. This week, the legal battle over President Trump's executive order that sought to suspend U.S. acceptance of refugees for 120 days came to a momentary respite. In between then, and before, the lives of those millions of refugees have often been reduced to, at the best, a series of statistics, and at the worst, pawns played for political gain. 

Hoping to remind others of the human aspect of what the U.N. has called the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, Swedish design studio Essen International has created a font embedded with an important message. Called "Common Sans," the font automatically corrects the word "refugee" every time it is typed to the word "human."


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"The traditional role of typefaces and typography is to carry a message by not interfering," creative director Robert Holmkvist told Wired. "Common Sans does the opposite. It's the typeface telling you, and interfering with you."

The project was created in part with Solvatten, a nonprofit makes portable, solar-powered water purification kits. The purpose, according to Essen International, is to remind others that being a refugee is a temporary status that should not detract from a refugee's status first and foremost as a human. 

 "We just believe that humans are amazing, simple as that," reads a statement on the company's site. "A stamp on their passport should not let us believe otherwise."

Cover image via thomas koch / Shutterstock.


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