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The Anti-Bullying Font

Nordic IT company TietoEVRY partnered with The Children and Youth Foundation to bring action-based approach to the discussion surrounding cyberbullying. To bring more empathy to the web, we need to start by changing its language. Could a font help nudge us towards better behavior?

For this one time, it’s ok. The Polite Type recognises common insults and slurs related to a range of themes identified by our diverse project team.

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The issue

Globally, studies show that a third of all bullying now takes place online. As the global pandemic has moved our social encounters, workplaces, classrooms and schoolyards online, addressing cyberbullying is more topical than ever. Out of the participants in our youth workshops, 65 percent reported they had faced online bullying, with the number of incidents having increased with the coronavirus.

Objectives

  • Promote a better online culture through a positive change in attitudes
  • Directly engage youths from different background in addressing cyberbullying
  • Introduce a new angle into the discussion of tech companies social responsibility
  • Create brand awareness for TietoEVRY through a purpose-driven PR campaign.

The idea

  • Create a custom font that gives its users direct feedback on their language use by replacing or blurring offensive words.
  • Use the font to create a platform for public dialogue on digital responsibility with key decision-makers and public sector customers
  • Bring in young people as active participants in tackling discriminatory language before it happens
  • Make the font freely downloadable and release the font’s source code to drive engagement and so that anyone can join in developing it further.

The font

The Polite Type is a font that recognises and rewrites hate speech. By launching a self-moderating font, TietoEVRY wanted to create discussion about toxic online culture and cyberbullying, the social responsibility of tech companies in solving these issues and innovative ways companies could use tech to foster empathy online.

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Understand and replace

The blur is an integrated part of the design for the words that have no literal translation or their meaning is too broad to replace with just one word or their purpose is only that of hurting someone. Blurring is commonly used as a way to censor or to hide something offensive, but it has never before been used as a symbol in a font.

The symbol

Globally, studies show that a third of all bullying now takes place online. As the global pandemic has moved our social encounters, workplaces, classrooms and schoolyards online, addressing cyberbullying is more topical than ever. Out of the participants in our youth workshops, 65 percent reported they had faced online bullying, with the number of incidents having increased with the coronavirus.

The library

The library of words deemed hurtful has been put together in collaboration with people from different origins, religions, world views and sexual orientations. Naturally, the library is always changing with the language itself. This is why we ask for everyone to find words that are not yet in the library to collaborate with us in the broadening of its vocabulary.

code
Project timeline
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Executions

Press launch

  • Global press release
  • Localized versions in Finland and Sweden
  • Press kit with images and film
  • Campaign website where the font could be tested
  • Freely downloadable font kit

Supporting executions

ADVERTISING

  • Launch Film
  • Organic and paid social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube
  • Instagram Stories
  • Traffic directed to campaign website

INFLUENCER ACTIVATION

  • Endorsements from D&I experts
  • Micro and macro influencers on Instagram
  • Podcast features and episodes

Success in social media was locally boosted with paid posts and influencers

In the media

A Nordic Cure for Online Hate Speech and Bullying?

Bloomberg

“New font automatically blurs curse words and swaps in kinder language”

Daily Mail

“Nytt typsnitt sätter stopp för nätmobbare”

IDG

“Font automatically blurs swearing and changes slurs to stop cyberbullying”

Independent

Dalla Finlandia la “tastiera” che trasforma il bullismo in inclusione

“This profanity blocking font is ******* genius”

Creative Bloq

“Шутки в сторону, но такой шрифт действительно может сделать общество чуть более внимательным и толерантным по отношению к окружающим людям”

“Blurring is commonly used as a way to hide something offensive, but it has never before been used as a symbol in a font”

The WSJ

“Mitä jos verkossa tapahtuva vihapuhe pystyttäisiin sensuroimaan jo ennen enterin painamista?”

Results

900,598,598

Potential reach (Meltwater)

8,497,769 €

worth of earned media

637

earned media mentions

32,822

font tests

4,392

font downloads in over 110 countries

13%

testers installed the font

3

language versions in development

8

countries in our partner school network

Brand

Agency