Berlin Wall typeface Heimat

Heimat creates typeface using street art from the Berlin Wall

Creative agency Heimat Berlin used images of lettering graffitied onto the Berlin Wall to create this typeface commemorating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the barrier separating East and West Berlin.

The typeface forms part of a project titled If Walls Could Talk, which Heimat's Berlin office developed for non-profit street art association, The Cultural Heirs.

The organisation, which is committed to integration and violence prevention, as well as the prevention of discrimination and inequalities in society, released the typeface as an online tool so users can generate their own messages.

Berlin Wall typeface Heimat

The typeface comprises images of every letter in the Latin alphabet that are taken directly from the wall, which divided Soviet-controlled East Berlin and capitalist west Berlin during the Cold War.

Construction of the Wall commenced in 1961 and it formed part of the border between East and West Germany until a revolution prompted its demolition, which began on 9 November 1989.

Berlin Wall typeface Heimat

In 2014, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall was marked by the temporary installation of 8,000 glowing balloons along its former route.

During the 1980s, in particular, the West Berlin side of the Wall became a popular canvas for street artists, who covered it in graffiti and murals that were often overtly political.

"Street art and iconic design can have a dramatic impact on culture, and creating a campaign to celebrate freedom and warn about division to mark this important anniversary was very meaningful to us," said Matthias Storah, chief communications officer at Heimat Berlin.

"We hope that this project will help remind audiences of our hard-won freedoms, which we must cherish and enjoy."

Berlin Wall typeface Heimat

The studio chose to commemorate the anniversary by "giving the Wall a voice", in the form of the online tool, which can be used to express messages about the importance of freedom in today's society.

The typeface can be downloaded for home use, or can be used to generate text directly on the Voice of the Wall website. These messages can then be shared using social media, and will be collected for compilation in a book.

Berlin Wall typeface Heimat

The campaign also includes a film made to evoke the struggles faced by those living in the segregated city. A soundtrack featuring sirens, dogs barking and gunshots combines with a voiceover that gives a perspective from the Wall's point of view.

The film ends with the message: "Division is freedom's biggest threat. Let's fight against it."