Homeless Are Making Money With Their Handwriting

Handwritten cardboard signs that homeless use to ask for help or a donation can be seen in cities all over the world. Almost no-one, however, really pays attention to them, although some of them are unexpectedly beautiful. In order to raise money for a local charity, HOMELESSFONTS has made the handwriting of ten homeless people in Barcelona available as downloadable fonts.


Homeless haven’t very much tools to ask passers-by for help, except for the cardboard sign on which they write a short message. The Arrels Foundation — an organization that provides sleeping places for the homeless in Barcelona — takes advantage of the skills that are needed to write a clear message on a piece of cardboard by transforming the handwriting of local homeless into fonts that can be bought and used for campaigns, magazines, and other online and offline publications.


For the HOMELESSFONTS project the Arrels Foundation teamed up with advertising agency The Cyranos McCann. Five fonts — based on the handwriting of Guillermo, Francisco, Loraine, Luis Serra, and Gemma — are currently available for download on the website. Individuals pay €19 for one font, companies are charged €290. This video on Vimeo provides a view into the HOMELESSFONTS project in general, and the process of digitizing the handwritten texts.