Symbolising democracy

During August 2013 I had the privilege to develop content for the inaugural Open Design Cape Town festival. Part of the festival included a comprehensive exhibition covering topics of design for mobility, sustainability, education, medical applications and icons of South African design. One of the design examples selected for the icons exhibition was the typeface designed by Garth Walker for the Constitutional Court. I love the simplicity and imbedded narrative, which characterises this graphic solution.

The Constitutional Court Typeface , designed in 2003 was used for external and internal signage for the Constitutional Court of South Africa in Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. The typeface represents to celebration of environmental context and heritage. The site, which includes the  Apartheid-era prison building signage, graffiti, letters and other graphic elements from the site  provided the inspiration and aestetic form.  The final design can be seen on the face of the Court, in all 11 official languages in the colours of the national flag.

First he had to get familiar with the direct surroundings of the Constitutional Court. The following graffiti/letters on the right were found in and around the jail cells and documented through the means of photography. In places one can clearly see the disintegration and erosion of wall paint over the years and how this affects the shape and character of the letters. Garth Walker found this fascinating and wanted to capture these unique characteristics and ‘look and feel’ for his original typeface.


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