Australian Characters

August 17, 2012

Australian Characters represents the collaboration between young urban Aboriginal artist Sarrita King and typographer Spike Hibberd for the purpose of instigating a dialogue about the question of what it means to be Australian. 

Australian Characters is a typeface realized out of necessity. A necessity to stimulate a dialogue about who we are as Australians, what we represent, what has shaped us and where we are going.

This typeface is a set of tools, a vehicle for expression. It has been created for the Australian public to interact with and consequently introduce a international discourse around the theme of Australian identity.

From this forum we hope Australians will discuss a broad range of themes and encourage a rich source of deliberation that clarifies and broadens our understanding for all generations.

The starting point for this typeface was the Latin alphabet which seemed suitable with the name Australia being derived from the Latin australis, meaning "southern". Right from the beginning the intention has been to connect
with as many people as possible. The Latin alphabet enables a majority of Australians with diverse backgrounds, cultures and ages, to participate.

While the Latin alphabet was the starting point to truly talk about non-indigenous Australians identity, this typeface needed representation from a member of Indigenous Australia to make it truly Australian.

The urban Australian Aboriginal artist, Sarrita King had been exploring similar ideas and asking questions about her own mixed heritage with her father, the late Aboriginal atrtist, William King; her mother migrated from England
at a young age.

Sarrita's Language of the Earth has a painting style that is representative of the earth's story. There is a history of the birth-land, which connects to family, culture, and all nature. Her symbols communicate, her painting's layout tells the story.

While the symbols in union with the typeface and its indentations connect (along with the viewer) to the land and its history, the lifeline reminds us of life going forward. Sarrita's father taught her that we are all connected to each other and the world around us.

Thus we have the unification of two distinctly different backgrounds and journeys. The lifeline; Sarrita's connection to her fathers storytelling language should be seen as an invitation for everyone to view their own life and connections to the land and to others. It is hoped that these symbols and connections will assist as a vehicle for exploring there own identity to Australia.

This partnership has presented a unique stage for a sharing of ideas and visual dialogue. The sharing of language and overlapping of stories has presented the opportunity for a unified visual response to some of the questions raised by this personal exploration of identity.

Australian Characters sets out to establish a forum – one which has currently been swept under the carpet. The reasons behind this Spike and Sarrita cannot answer, nor do they intend to do so.

This typeface symbolizes the union of Spike and Sarrita - as peers, artists, Australian citizens and individuals with distinctly different stories. Given its aim of clarification and unity, Australian Characters should be a starting point for discussions encircling the themes of Australian identity.

For all inquiries into the Australian Characters typeface direct here