These Homeless Signs Will Make You Do A Double Take — Because That's Exactly The Point

It's called "The Urban Type Experiment."

What started out as a fancy typography class quickly turned into a social experiment (and series of good deeds) for one Chicago artist.

The artist, who wants to remain anonymous, had been living in a major city for the first time when he began to notice the homeless (and their signs) lining the streets. With a newfound love of typography and a desire to help the less fortunate, his two worlds collided. He calls it "The Urban Type Experiment."


He takes the signs that the homeless have previously written.

And turns them into beautiful works of calligraphy.

The goal? To get passersby to pay attention to the less fortunate.

"I believe that anything helps whether that's a $10 bill or just a kind conversation," the artist told A Plus in an email interview. "Most people just walk by without saying a word. I wanted to find a way to grab people's attention."

And so that's what he did.

So far, he has done seven signs for four different people.

"Usually they're a little unsure at first, but once I explain the project and show them some examples, they're more than willing to help out with the project," he told A Plus.

From what he's seen, the signs do work. Mostly because they serve as conversation starters.

"I feel like the signs are doing a great job of grabbing attention and initiating interactions. The signs give people passing by something to talk about," he said.

He told A Plus that people will go up to those with the signs to compliment them. Some have waved them over to their cars to chat.

He also said that through word of mouth, other people who are homeless have asked him to create signs for them.

He'll post the signs he made along with their owners to the experiment's Tumblr page and says he will continue do so for as long as possible.

"I'm hoping now that the project is starting to gain some traction, it will raise more awareness about homelessness as an issue," he said.

With an estimated 140,000 Chicagoans living on the streets, we need that awareness more than ever.

At the least, the "Urban Type Experiment" serves as a reminder that the homeless are people, too. And — regardless of how pretty their signs look — they deserve to be treated as such.

"I also hope the next time people are out and see someone asking for help, they’ll be more inclined to stop, even if just for a conversation," he said. "Humans crave interaction. Ask how they are, learn their stories, and if you can, make a donation."


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