This Font Reminds Us that Refugees are People, Too

"Refugee" becomes "human." Just in case you forgot.

by Gabrielle Bruney
Dec 12 2015, 6:15pm

 Gif courtesy of Essen International

Around the world, discourse surrounding the refugee crisis has reached a fever pitch so hysterical and fear-driven that it’s becoming increasingly easy to forget that refugees are just, you know, people. Right here in the States, a not-inconsiderable swath of our politicians support either a religious test for displaced people seeking refuge in the US, or an all-out ban. Recognizing that we could all use a reminder of the sanctity of displaced peoples’ humanity, Swedish design firm Essen International teamed up with Solvatten, a company that created a portable water treatment and solar heating device for the developing world, to make Common Sans. The font, which you can download here, automatically replaces the word “refugee” with the word “human” any time you type it. It’s a useful reminder that if you’re writing something about refugees that would sound insensitive if it were directed more broadly at members of the human race, you should probably pause and rethink it, because, as David Wadström of Solvatten writes, "We should not reduce people just because their circumstances are reduced.”

Adds Robert Holmkvist of Essen International, "I believe that small actions, like a typeface, can make people stop and think for a moment. Think about the people and the individuals behind the headlines."

For more information, and for donation links to the UN Refugee Agency, the Red Cross, and Solvatten, click here.


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