Image description

Font Aid VIII: a call for action


A collaborative typeface for Nepalese Earthquake relief

On 25 April 2015, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred 80 kilometers outside Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The earthquake caused irreparable damage – to people’s homes and to important historical sites – and killed thousands of people in Nepal and surrounding Himalayan region. Just two weeks later, another 7.3-magnitude earthquake has rocked Nepal – this one is 69 kilometers west of Namche Bazaar, close to Mount Everest and the shockwaves were felt as far away as Delhi (India) and Dakha (Bangladesh). Since much of the region is made up of isolated towns and villages nestled in the mountains and foothills, the full scale of devastation is still unknown and numbers of those who have perished are still rising.

Symbols of Compassion

A team of volunteers, led by Jo De Baerdemaeker and Rathna Ramanathan, and The Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA) is announcing the launch of Font Aid VIII, a project uniting design communities from across the world to raise funds to expedite relief efforts in Nepal.

Please help by contributing to the font and by spreading the word.

Typeface designers, graphic designers, illustrators and other creatives from around the world are invited to contribute artwork to be included in a collaborative typeface (Symbols of Compassion) created exclusively for the Font Aid VIII effort. This will take the form a digital font consisting entirely of Om signs. It will be accompanied by a publication (Building Letters Himalaya edition). Building Letters Himalaya will be made available for sale, with all proceeds going entirely to Shangrila Home, a shelter for street children in Nepal. (

SOTA, a US-based non-profit, is acting as a non-partisan organizing body to help coordinate the effort and ensure all funds are distributed appropriately.

The final typeface will be distributed exclusively by the Society of Typographic Aficionados under the SOTA standard End User License Agreement.


Whether you choose to participate or not, please help us tell others about Font Aid VIII. SOTA has prepared a series of Font Aid banners to help us spread the word. If you use one of these banners to promote this project, all we ask is that you link back to the Font Aid page.


To participate:

Create a single black and white “Om symbol” glyph or icon for the benefit font. The Om symbol can be expressed in a multitude of scripts, or even as an expression of sound. Your design should be a vector file image, not a bitmap. Keep it simple and not too wild.



Why the Om?
Om is a mantra syllable and mystical sound of Hindu origin (geographically India and Nepal), sacred and important in various Dharmic philosophies and theologies such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. The symbol is represented in a multitude of writing systems all over the Himalayan region and beyond.

Some references for the Om symbol:



Submission Guidelines
    • Artwork must be black and white
    • Artwork must be supplied as vector outlines
    • Artwork must sized to fit in a 10" x 10" square (or 255 mm x 255 mm)
          Download SOTA's handy Adobe Illustrator Glyph template
    • Adobe Illustrator (.ai and .eps), UFO source files, Glyphs source files,

          or Fontlab (.vfb) will be accepted
    • Important! Artwork containing any of the following will be rejected:
          Opened paths
          Stroked paths
          Patterned or textured fills
          Overly complex paths or outlines
          Embedded bitmaps or non-editable imagery
          Live or outlined text
          Glyphs copied from existing typefaces
    • Remember, simple is often better
    • One glyph per person may be submitted



Send the following to by Sunday 31 August 2015.
    • Final vector artwork file
    • A short description of your glyph
    • Your name (as you like it to appear on the project page)
    • Your country


Many thanks for your support!