What began as a conversation over coffee between myself, Tyler Way (an artist/designer) and Michael Hyacinthe (an 8-year U.S. Navy Veteran) in 2010, eventually led to the beginning of the registered nonprofit organization, Fashion Has Heart in 2012. After three annual design projects of pairing five Veterans with five artists as part of our HERO[series] projects, we agreed the organization needed to simplify its name to HAS HEART in 2015 in order to open ourselves up to more opportunities outside of fashion.
As we continued to evolve the organization into its own brand, we've been able to gradually build and refine the attributes that make up our brand DNA. The logo, use of brackets, letter felt boards, camo patterns with paint splatters, etc. have all become key parts of our website, social media pages, and pop-up exhibits. Another key attribute has been our use of fonts. The main paragraph font has always been easy: Courier. It's classic and timeless while still clean and modern. It reminds you of an old typewriter but is still crisp and clean. The headline font has been a different story.
We've experimented and used different headline fonts throughout the years. But we were never able to really fall in love with any in particular. They were good, but all seemed to lack in different ways. As I continued to dig through various military surplus piles and discover vintage army bags, jackets, ammo boxes, trunks, etc., there would be different stencils and fonts used that would catch my eye. All of this led to creating our own font in Illustrator, which we then had to place letter-by-letter everywhere we chose to use it.
But now, with the generous help of Monotype font designer, Terrance Weinzierl, who was also an artist partner in our 2015 HERO[series] project with AIGA West Michigan, we were able to co-create our own HAS HEART font. In his own expert words, Terrance describes the font design process:
"For the typeface, we started from a basic condensed sans with geometric flavor. Many of his inspiration images are letters that have been stamped or stenciled. I worked with Tyler to polish all of the bumps and bruises, refine the concept, and finally bring the lettering into working font files. We wanted to keep the design away from being too perfect, while remaining friendly and approachable. This was accomplished by expanding the frequency of humanist-style terminals, round punctuation, and a Rounded font style. I explored a concept of having a tilted waistline in the middle of letters to create more discord, mirroring emotional or physical struggles veterans may experience. The slashes through the 7 and Z represent reconstruction and repair, something that HAS HEART offers through their Veteran and artist collaboration process. The head and heart of the Veteran is guided by the artist to create something visual and expressive, learning from each other along the way. Indeed, letters can easily carry ideas and emotion."
Unfortunately, our current website doesn't allow us to upload and use our custom font -- the "price" you pay for a template website when you're unable to afford to design your own. But one day, hopefully soon, we'll be able to fully immerse our supporters in everything HAS HEART.
One of the inspiring aspects of this organization has been the amount of talented and passionate individuals that have dedicated their time and talents towards our mission to benefit, uplift, and inspire Veterans through the mediums of art, design, and fashion. Remember, we all can and should contribute in some way. After all, "Without their sacrifice, there is no freedom of..."