The Letters in This Typeface Disappear as Endangered Animals Vanish

Digital dystopia's disappearing ink

We are in our sixth mass extinction. 

For ANP|WWF, and in partnership with the Lisbon Zoo, BAR Ogilvy Lisbon came up with a creative way to keep that harrowing knowledge in our consciousness: "The Endangered Typeface."

In this "living font," each letter represents a different endangered animal. The typeface is updated regularly with data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. As the number of individuals in a species decreases, the letter associated with it disappears proportionately.

It's an aesthetically powerful use of data. We're not sure how the letters keep updating once people download them to their computers (do typefaces get automatic updates?). But we can imagine a lot of folks would like playing with a font that keeps evolving. It brings an extra organic element to digital art, while serving as a reminder of decay.

It seems healthy to create more digital things that connect us to the larger world that lives and dies, as opposed to driving a wedge. This isn't just about losing axolotls (though that would be a tragedy)—our survival is intimately connected to other life, often in ways we don't expect. See: That time Mao tried eradicating the sparrows, and everything went horribly wrong.

"Endangering biodiversity is to endanger our survival," says Angela Morgado, ANP|WWF's executive director. "Wildlife continues to decline at an alarming rate, with serious consequences for our own health and livelihoods."

"The Endangered Typeface' launched on May 22, International Biodiversity Day. The campaign's motto is "A living font, born to protect all animal life." But don't let that fool you into thinking it's in any way representative of the problem's scope. The IUCN reports there are over 42,000 endangered species.

“This idea turns the alarming numbers of species on the verge of extinction into a very simple, clear and impactful visual representation. Making people think, support and spread the word about a problem that is bigger than all of us is what we want to achieve with this project," says Miguel Ralha, CEO of BAR Ogilvy.

Download the font, or make a donation, at the dedicated website.


Creative Agency: BAR Ogilvy
Chief Creative Officer: José Bomtempo
Creative Directors: João Amaral, Nuno Riça
Art Directors: João Amaral, António Bezerra, Rita Alvarez, Catarina Moura, Maria João Miranda
Copywriters: Nuno Riça, Jorge Simões, Beatriz Martinho
Account Director: Matilde Parreira 
PR & Influence Director: Marta Moreira
PR & Influence Account Executives: Joana Ramos, Soraia Tomaz, Mafalda Braga
Web Designer: Frederico Graça
Production Artist: Pedro Santos
Digital Production Director: Sara Fonseca
Digital Developer: Nuno Quelhas
TV Producer: Nuno Calado
Graphic Producer: Irene Bandeira
PR & Communication Agency: BCW Portugal
Senior Account Manager BCW: Miguel Satúrio
Production House: Jungle Corner 
Editing and post-production: Bernardo Malafaya
Producer: Inês Martins, Catarina Nascimento
Sound Studio: Estrela de Alcântara
Sound Engineer: Miguel Raposo Lima

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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