Vocal is not just another font foundry. It's a response. It's a response to the lack of diversity and empathy and the persistence of stereotypes in the creative industry. This lack of diversity concerning race, ethnicity, and gender, has led to a lack of diversity in systems (like education) and, ultimately, ideas and creations.
It all started in June of 2016. I was crafting another identity (my specialty), and per usual, searching for inspiration online (usually my last resort after checking out my library). I became extremely bored. I'm not sure if it's because of our obsession with grids and perfection, but everything I saw, no matter how beautiful, it all just looked the same. There was no culture, no uniqueness—only monotony and stereotypes (don't get me wrong, I know stereotypes are more of a societal problem, but follow me here).
Then one day, not soon after, I decided to search for the demographics of the graphic design industry. And when I discovered 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, regardless of any advancements in technology, there can (and has been) only been 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.