The Philippines is oozing with widely-acclaimed, iconic artworks. But ask almost anyone on the street, and they’ll struggle to name the artists behind many obra maestras. Introducing Obra Typeface, an initiative by Ayala Museum, in partnership with J. Walter Thompson Philippines, which aims to familiarise Filipinos with national artists by using something everyone is familiar with - typefaces.
For its first foray, the team crafted a display type, the Imao Obra Typeface or Imao.otf, inspired by the works of National Artist Abdulmari Asia Imao. His trademark icons — the sarimanok, okir, and naga motifs — were integrated into every typeface character, creating a rich tapestry of letters and images.
The aim of combining the artworks and the artist’s name into the typeface is to make it easier for people to remember the artists behind the masterpieces.
Part of the exhibition is a special showcase of everyday items designed with the Imao Obra Typeface. Artists and designers were tasked to translate the typefaces into merchandise such as shirts, jackets, hats, shoes, bags, and even home items like pots, lamps, spray can centerpieces, and furniture. Collaborators in this project include Abre Linea, Aranaz, Artwork, Boyet Custodio, Drin Alejandro, Femi Cachola, Fine Time Studios, Geoff Estevez, Ibarra Watches, Jappy Agoncillo, Javey Villones, Joco Comendador, Leeroy New, Kenneth Tan, Michael Gonzales, Pako.ph, Renan Pacson, Support Your Friends, Wanderskye and Drea Dizon, and WSH.
It is a merger of different art forms, united together by a singular typeface. One inspired by an artist who aimed to unite Filipinos of all creeds and culture.
“What I find clever about transforming artworks into a typeface is that people will now be able to use them, make it their own,” said Mariles Gustilo, director of Ayala Museum. “And as they tinker with each letter, each design, it will entice them to learn about the artist who inspired it.”
“This is only the beginning.” said Brandie Tan, executive creative director of J. Walter Thompson Philippines. “Our goal is to partner with more National Artists, and through our typefaces, we get to celebrate their lives, works and names every day.”
The Imao Obra Typeface exhibition is free to the public and is on view throughout May 2019 at the 2F of the Ayala Museum. The Imao Obra Typeface or the Imao.OTF is free to use and free to download online here
Creative Agency: J. Walter Thompson Philippines
Chief Creative Officer: Dave Ferrer
Executive Creative Director: Brandie Tan
Art Director: Villarica Manuel
Copywriter: Albert Millar
Managing Director: Golda Roldan
Project Managers: Eugene Sucayan, Kriss Luciano
Print Producer: Carol Pe Benito
Final Art Worker: Michael Gonzales, Ferdz Ortiz, Christopher Cristobal
Creative Technologist: Mico Laeno
Illustrator: Geoff Estevez
Editor: Drin Alejandro