The Awe and Wonder of Philippine Typography
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
By design, words are elements of speech that exist to string ideas and express thought; but what if the words we know come with an aesthetic we could visually appreciate?
Born out of a vision to create Wikanimations—for August’s Buwan Ng Wika—we collaborated with internationally acclaimed artist and typographer Kookie Santos.
No stranger to the dynamic discipline of custom typefaces, Kookie is a pro at actualizing her love for Filipino words by interpreting them as she sees fit. As a matter of fact, a quick peek at her Instagram account will reveal some of her best work yet.
To bring our ideas to life, we had Kookie illustrate four keywords we wanted to imagine before our very own Drix Deñola— one of rezonate’s resident senior art directors—turned them into reverberating characters.
For his part, Drix says that tapping into his senses was the easiest way to picture a word. He explains that, when we receive words either sonically or otherwise, their impact is often dictated by how these words make us feel. To better understand this, here’s a little behind-the-scenes of his design process:
“When we hear the word ‘ginhawa,’ many of us automatically think of vacations, so that aesthetic is what I wanted to achieve. I wanted the design to evoke a sense of comfort and relief.
“Many of us are beach-deprived because of the quarantine, so I also wanted to work on that visual—something that reminded people of paradise and comfort,” he shares.
As a result, Drix made the letters “float.”
Unlike the other Filipino keywords we were set to animate, this one is arguably more complex to describe. “Diwa can mean plenty of things, but they all relate to consciousness and essence; one’s mind and spirit, essentially.”
“Because of that, I based my design off of the phrase ‘lumulutang na diwa.’
“I wanted the design to radiate an ethereal feeling, with the letters levitating in space leaving echoes as it moves,” Drix quips.
Check out his animation for diwa below!
Like diwa, Drix says malasakit was quite challenging to animate “simply because of the heaviness of its meaning.”
As a solution, our super artist shares how he resorted to the concept of maternal instincts as a vehicle to paint the word.
"My inspiration for this design is how nurturing maternal instincts can be. This is why I made it out to be shaped like a heart.
“It's overtly indicative of compassion and empathy—something I wanted to be very clear when people saw it.”
True enough, his design articulated exactly what he had in mind. But don’t take our word for it.
See it for yourself!
No bells and whistles for this word; Drix says he wanted the design to be as “straightforward as possible.”
Interestingly, he designs halakhak as teeth which the mouth reveals when it opens to laugh.
And why wouldn’t it? The word translates to loud laughter in English, after all.
“The colors were inspired by the fun pabitin games we see in Filipino children’s parties. My goal was to give the aesthetic a look that screamed festivity, excitement, and vibrance.”
Here’s how his finished product for halakhak looks like:
Filipino typography is underrated—and we should change that
Overall, it was a fun project that allowed us to shed light on the diversity of our own words. Kookie’s unique creative voice and Drix’s ability to tell a tale make for a stellar combination if we do say so ourselves.
We championed this campaign as an opportunity to not only celebrate the beauty of our national language but also to showcase the art of Filipino typography.
The country is teeming with talent, but for us to say that Filipino typography has reached mainstream conversations would be a stretch.
Filipino typography is underrated, and we think it’s about time for us to keep conversations in this space alive.