Messages beyond the cardboard

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One organization uses handwriting to help homeless individuals. 

You might see them every day, or once a week on your commute to work. An individual on the side of the road with a cardboard sign. To most, they are an unknown face, struggling day-to-day, but to the Arrels foundation, they are artists with great potential.

Arrels, an organization that provides housing, food and health services to homeless individuals in Barcelona, created the initiative in hope of raising awareness and humanizing the issue of homelessness.

The website features fonts created using the writing of local homeless individuals, ready for purchase.

Ferran Busquets, director of the Arrels foundation, said in a press release that the typefaces created, are an awareness-raising tool. “ was set up as a ground-breaking scheme which joins the artistic side with social commitment. It is a creative way to raise and transform the popular view of the issue of homeless people.”

Through collaboration with advertising agency Cyranos McCann, Arrels is able to sell unique fonts and raise funds that help 1,400 individuals without a place to call home in Barcelona.

Go to to purchase your own unique font or to find out how you can help the Arrels foundation
The website features ten participants whose unique writing can be purchased for 19 euros for a personal license, or 290 euros for a professional.  Participants perform typography exercises that are later scanned and converted into usable fonts by design experts and professionals.

Designers and professionals who work on the initiative give their time on a volunteer basis.

“I never thought my typeface could be worth anything,” said Loraine, in a press release, one of the participants in the initiative. “Thanks to this project, I’ve discovered that my writing is nice enough for a brand like Valonga to take an interest in it and use it on their products.”

The foundation hopes to help more individuals in the coming years. There are currently 3,000 homeless people in Barcelona.

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Lizeth Beltran

Lizeth Beltran is a freelance journalist based in Southern California. Previously, she worked at Bobit Business Media managing multimedia projects. During her spare time, she enjoys drinking copious amounts of tea and reading a good novel. She is a California State University, Long Beach, alumna and holds a degree in journalism.