Google Fonts Adds African-Inspired Typefaces Madimi and Ojujun by Taurai Valerie Mtake and Chisaokwu Joboson

Google Fonts recently added two new captivating typefaces to their library, Madimi One and Ojuju created by talented African designers, Zimabwe-born Taurai Valerie Mtake and Nigeria-based Chisaokwu Joboson to infuse African culture and aesthetics into digital typography. 

Madimi Google Font by Taurai Valerie Mtake

Google Fonts recently added the Madimi One, a rounded-sans typeface meticulously crafted by Zimbabwean visual communicator Taurai Valerie Mtake. Inspired by Southern African graphic symbols, Madimi blends geometric elements with organic forms, delivering a unique visual language. Mtake collaborated with seasoned designers Laura Meseguer, Lisa Huang, and Mirko Velimirovic to bring Madimi to life. Rooted in Nguni writing symbols, Madimi is a contemporary means of storytelling, bridging the past with the present. The typeface's simplicity and clarity make it suitable for various design applications.

"As a graphic designer, I am concerned with how “zvinyorwa zvezviratidzo zvevanhu” (Nguni writing symbols) of Southern Afrika have become a staged authenticity instead of a real cultural practice. The relevance of this book and board game is to generate ways by which this system can be maintained and utilised in our contemporary society as a form of visual communication and as a way of storytelling for both the younger and older generations. In this project, I worked on a typeface design inspired by the Nguni symbols." Taurai Valerie Mtake shared.

After studying art in high school, Mtake pursued further education, completing a two-year diploma at the Zimbabwe Institute of Digital Arts. Later, she obtained an honours degree from Greenside Design Centre. Inspired by authentic African visual culture, Mtake's dedication to art and design led her to create projects reflecting this influence. She expressed her fascination with various forms of African art, including the art at Great Zimbabwe, cave paintings, and the beauty of nature. Her passion lies in storytelling through design, which motivated her to become a designer.

Mtake's involvement in Google's Open-Source Font Project stemmed from a recommendation to Thomas Phinney and Dave Crossland, leaders of the project. Their guidance proved invaluable, helping her refine her skills and reignite her passion for type design. Google Fonts offers a diverse range of fonts, including serif, sans-serif, and handwriting styles. Mtake embarked on this award-winning project in 2016 as part of her bachelor's thesis, aiming to create a font for a book that resonated with her project's theme.

Per Data seen by Greedysouth, Google Fonts API served the Madimi One, 2.67 million times over the last week and the font has already been featured in more than 680 websites.

Ojuju Google Font by Chisaokwu Joboson

Meanwhile, Nigerian-based brand and typedesigner Chisaokwu Joboson introduces Ojuju, a sans-serif typeface inspired by African masquerades. Reflecting the multifaceted identities and vibrant movements of traditional masquerades, Ojuju features varying apertures and bold weights. Joboson collaborated closely with Google Fonts to ensure Ojuju's versatility and accessibility. With over 1000 glyphs and support for 874 languages, Ojuju promises to be a valuable addition to the global design community.

“I’ve always been fascinated by masquerades growing up. Have a lot of memories of them whenever I think of home. Their multifaceted identities, swift movements, fiery looks, and the intriguing stories of how they came to be,” Joboson, the founder of Lagos-based independent type foundry - Ụdị Foundry, wrote in a social media post announcing the release of the typeface on Google Font. “It was a no-brainer when Dave Crossland and Thomas Phinney reached out to me (all thanks to Simon Charwey) to design an open-source typeface of African essence that ‘Ojuju’ would be the one.” Joboson shared. “I put a lot of time and energy into this project along with the amazing people at Google Fonts, and I hope you enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed creating it.” 

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Mungwadzi Godwin

twitterinstagramI like sharing positive stories about Zimbabweans at home and abroad. I also write articles on Personal Finance, Fashion, Music, and Tech. Let's connect!

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