555 Fleuron
January 2005

Typeface contribution
Fleurons of Hope
'Fleurons of Hope' was a fund-raising project initiated by type designer Max Kisman and charity organizations Building Letters and Font Aid. Graphic designers from all over the world were asked to contribute to a collaborative typeface. This typeface would then be sold (both as font and as publication), with proceedings being used to relief the victims of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami disaster.

Designers were specifically asked to submit a so-called 'fleuron': a flower-like typographic symbol, used mostly for ornamental and decorative purposes.

Shown here is the fleuron we submitted. More an asterisk than an actual flower, it's a sign that is composed out of three fives. The numbers refer to giro 555, the account number of the Dutch national disaster funds. Although only understandable in a Dutch context, we still thought it was a nice starting point for a symbol.

The way we put those three numbers together (in the form of a so-called 'triskelion', to be precise) has a slightly dark undertone. On the one hand, it bears resemblance to the 777 sign, a right-wing South African symbol that shows three sevens composed as a three-legged (or is it three-armed?) swastika. On the other hand, it looks a bit like the 666 sign, the hidden satanic birthmark as described in the book and movie The Omen (1976), and as such also shown in the logo of The Omen (as displayed on the classic movie poster). Despite these sinister undertones we still think our 555 sign can be seen as a fleuron of hope. We don't think that the triskelion is a symbol beyond redemption, which is why we tried to to turn it into a positive sign.

More information can be found at www.fontaid.com, www.buildingletters.org and www.giro555.nl

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