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Fit for protest

A typeface can help give voice and impact to political visual commentary. For Brazilian creatives Johnny Brito and Maria Clara Feitosa, David Jonathan Ross’ Fit fit the bill.

Fit is a fantastic name, not only because it’s a short and versatile verb, but also because it’s extremely appropriate for David Jonathan Ross’ variable font, which fits into virtually any imaginable space. Because the surface of each letter occupies most of its bounding box, it provides a significant visual kick, allowing designers to use Fit’s shapes either as a backdrop for text and illustrations or as frames containing images. Not surprisingly, most of the submissions of Fit at Fonts in Use have become Staff Picks.

Ross’ prodigious skills and versatility got him invited to DiaTipo São Paulo 2017, where he gave both a talk and a workshop, and participated in the local type crit. Julio Giacomelli and his team used Fit to fashion a fabulous conference identity. The event inspired local designer Johnny Brito to use Fit in a series of political posters called “Inimigo Público (Public Enemy)” that he made with his partner in work and life, Maria Clara Feitosa, through their collective Vertentes Coletivo.

Fit Protest posters 01

Jair Bolsonaro (presidential candidate and former congressman): “I won’t rape you because you don’t deserve it.” Bolsonaro was convicted for telling congresswoman Maria do Rosário that she didn’t deserve to be raped because she was “too ugly.”

Geraldo Alkmin (presidential candidate and former governor of São Paulo): “There is no shortage of water in São Paulo.” Alkmin made the statement during a severe water crisis in the state of São Paulo.

The collective provides an outlet for the couple’s creativity outside of their regular jobs. They use it to do research, post content, and create self-initiated projects. Feitosa and Brito complement each other in multiple ways; the combination of their personalities, frames of reference, and skills makes their collaboration particularly fruitful.

“Inimigo Público” emerged from their indignation about some new plans that São Paulo’s former mayor, João Doria, had hatched for the city. With the presidential election coming up in Brazil in October, Feitosa and Brito were moved to put a selection of politicians’ statements on posters for people to keep in mind as they decide whom to support. Everyone has a different point of view, of course, and this is a curated selection. The couple expects their series to serve as an invitation for others to express dissent according to their own beliefs.

Fit Protest posters 02

Michel Temer (Brazilian president): “We need to keep this going.” In a taped private conversation with businessman Joesley Batista, Temer supposedly made this remark in reference to continuing to bribe Eduardo Cunha, former President of the Chamber of Deputies, who was already incarcerated for stashing millions of dollars in bribes in secret bank accounts.

João Dória Jr. (São Paulo’s former mayor and a potential candidate for governor of São Paulo): “Poor people don’t have a food habit.” Dória made this statement twice—once during a controversy surrounding a powder that the state was planning to add to food distributed to homeless people. The powder, manufactured by a private company, was a mixture made from food slated for incineration that was nearing its expiration date.

Because Feitosa and Brito wanted this particular series to communicate strongly and effectively, they chose a basic CMYK palette and a few graphic layers to juxtapose text, images, and illustrations. Fit entered the picture to create a large background surface for the illustrations while spelling out the phrase “Inimigo Público”. Even the medium was carefully chosen—wheat-paste postering is a form of protest in itself. For Feitosa and Brito, having the posters out in the streets means freely broadcasting their message. And they aren’t shy about it, either: their posters are signed by the collective and include its Instagram handle.

Fit Protest posters 02

Johnny Brito and Maria Clara Feitosa in action.

Earlier this year, Ross worked with Oded Ezer to produce a Hebrew extension for Fit; additional scripts might be developed in the future. I look forward to seeing more great public uses of Fit like these posters.

Originally from São Paulo, Marina Chaccur is a type maker and rule breaker based in The Hague. A graduate of that city’s Type and Media Master program at the Royal Academy of Art, Marina exhibits, speaks, teaches workshops, and organizes conferences around the world. She works in marketing and editorial for Type Network, capably assisted by Oprah, the glamorous tuxedo cat who oversees her studio.