Can a font be racist? Certain blackletter typefaces associated with hate groups

Addictive Ink Tattoo and Piercing Shop is one of many places in Southwest Florida to get a tattoo or piercing.

Daisy Pala is one of the shop’stattoo artists. For the past five years, she has helped customers select lettering that best illustrates the names, quotes, or titles used in their tattoos.

“I feel like a lot of people nowadays are leaning towards like a script font,” said Pala.

She admits to being well-versed on the types of fonts available to customers, but she does not always know the history or significance behind the many typefaces.

Experts in typography are pointing out that the font you choose for your tattoo could have a deeper history and may be linked to hate groups.

Merriam-Webster defines typography as the style, arrangement or appearance of typeset matter.

Typeface is a type of a single design, like Times New Roman or Arial. Typeface and font are often used interchangeably.

“Typography is language visualized. It documents cultural attitudes and narrates social change,” said Sarah Hyndman, graphic designer and author of the book “Why Fonts Matter.”

Hyndman has spent over 20 years studying fonts and what meanings they portray. She said certain fonts emit emotions while others display characteristics like power or strength. Hyndman also acknowledges that people associate fonts with the messages that are written.

For example, Fraktur is an old style of blackletter font used on Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and early Nazi letterheads. Because of this, Hyndman said this typeface can often be associated with racism or bigotry.

In fact, these accusations were made against Chet Hanks, son of Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks, in March of this year. He began receiving backlash on Twitter due to his new clothing line entitled “White Boy Summer.” The clothing is decorated with the phrase in a blackletter font that some Twitter users say closely resembles the Fraktur font used by Nazis.

In a video posted to Instagram, Hanks denies any racism associated with the clothing line.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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