New Font Is Dedicated To The Queer Activist Behind The Rainbow Flag

In June of 1978, artist and activist Gilbert Baker hand-dyed and stitched together eight strips of vibrant fabric, yielding a rainbow flag. 

Each color signified a certain power: pink stood for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for peace and purple for spirit. Today, that flag ― which over time was condensed from eight colors to six ― is immediately recognizable as a symbol of LGBTQ rights and pride. 

Baker, who called himself “gay Betsy Ross,” died in March 2017, but his iconic contribution to queer visual culture lives on. In honor of Baker’s legacy, advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather has teamed up with NewfestNYC Pride and Fontself to translate the energy and strength of the beloved rainbow flag into text. Finally, there is a rainbow font. 

The colorful type, titled “Gilbert,” is made up of the deconstructed stripes of the Pride flag, with multicolored rectangles curving and overlapping to produce lettering reminiscent of the flag’s 1970s roots. 

We wanted to celebrate something that he created that actually changed peoples’ perception of that community,” Ogilvy creative director Chris Rowson told Dezeen. 

The blending of colors visualizes, according to Rowson, the fluidity and openness of the LGBTQ community. “We liked the idea of that crossover and that overlay, it kind of creates new things,” he said. “People aren’t just one thing, they’re not just gay, or not just transsexual, everyone can be a mixture of things.”

The font is available for free download from Type with Pride. Its creators hope the eye-catching lettering will be spread across protest posters, Pride rally banners and queer-friendly public spaces around the world. 

Queers, allies and font fanatics, get ready to write with rainbow. 

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