VOCAL is part font foundry, part design solution. It began in May of 2016 while I was working on an identity. I was searching for inspiration, and everything just looked the same to me. I saw some identities made for different cities around the world, and even they looked the same. I saw no culture and no heritage——only monotony, trends, and stereotypes.
Some time after that, a little voice told me research the demographics of the design industry. And that's when it all made sense. When I found that over 80% of the industry had been dominated by a single race since its dawn, and that only 3-3.5% of all practicing graphic designers in America are Black, and over 85% white, a lot of things started making sense. And I understood why everything looked the same.
When a single race dominates an industry, there can (and has been) only one way of thinking, teaching, and creating. This lack of diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender, has led to a lack of diversity in thought, systems (like education), and ideas.
Maybe a week after these realizations occurred, I received an issue of PRINT magazine in the mail, with an article titled "Black Designers: Still Missing in Action," by Dr. Cheryl D. Holmes-Miller. The premise of the article is, partially, the lack of diversity in the design industry, but the message is a call to action for the next generation of Black designers to step up. So I did.
I decided to find a way to increase diversity and empathy in the design industry. I knew I couldn't just change the demographics or the education system. So I tried to figure out a way to introduce a non-stereotypical piece of minority culture into the design itself, starting with the basis of any good design—typography. Thus Vocal was founded.
A Special Thanks to Dr. Cheryl D. Holmes-Miller for inspiring me to pursue this passion project before someone else decided to.