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IMAO OBRA: The First Filipino-named Type

We can safely say that the Philippines is teeming with creative talent as a baseline statement. From illustrators, designers, and now with a resurgence of type designers, we are poised to be a more potent creative powerhouse in the years to come.

Types, or fonts as we know them, are essential in design and art being the visual language we can easily relate to. We do have great Filipino-made types we can discuss in a separate article (or even articles) but today we focus on this very special type.

Meet IMAO OBRA, the first-ever font named after a Filipino. This is named after National Artist Abdulmari Asia Imao, whose works are pre-dominant with his trademark icons sarimanok, okir, and anaga motifs. These icons were the inspiration of the typeface made which made a rich tapestry of letters and images.

This type was brought to life with the collaboration between J. Walter Thompson Philippines and Ayala Museum as an attempt to familiarize Filipinos with National Artists. And what better way than to introduce it to something we use in our daily lives?

It was launched last May 2019 through an exhibit hosted in Ayala Museum. The launch was also a channel of collaboration with local artists who used the OBRA typeface into everyday items like merchandise such as shirts, jackets, hats, shoes, bags, and even home items like pots, lamps, spray can centerpieces, and a chair. Collaborators in this project include Abre Linea, Aranaz, Artwork, Boyet Custodio, Drin Alejandro, Femi Cachola, Fine Time Studios, Geoff Estevez, Jappy Agoncillo, Joco Comendador, Kenneth Tan, Pako.ph, Renan Pacson, Support Your Friends, Wanderskye and Drea Dizon, Leeroy New, Ibarra Watches, and WSH.

Check out some of the images during the launch below, and even some of the items!

"Majestad de Imao" by Ibarra Heritage
"Sorbetes Time" by Fine Time Studios
"Origami Bucket Hat" by Kenneth Tan

And yes, the typeface is free to use! You may download the type here: www.obratypeface.com

Photos from same website provided above.

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