Posted in Publication, Theory, Typeface, Visual Language
Stillingfleet, is the third of a triptych of typefaces inspired by the typography of the UK miners’ strike 1984-1985. Following on from Liaison, inspired Liaison Committee For The Defence Of The Trade Union (LCDTU) placards, and Ferrymoor, drawn from the reverse of the National Union of Mineworkers Ferrymoor Riddings Branch banner, Stillingfleet’s origins are found in the creative enterprise of the miners themselves. In June 1984, just months after the strike had officially commenced, and days after the infamous events at Orgreave Coking Plant, the Yorkshire Miners’ Gala was held in Thornes Park, Wakefield.
The talk of the day surrounded the call by National Coal Board (NCB) chairman Ian MacGregor for a “return-to-work” ballot, something that was vehemently opposed by the miners’ unions and their supporters. “If you get a ballot paper, you burn it” declared President of the Yorkshire NUM, Jack Taylor, a sentiment echoed by MP for Bolsover, Dennis Skinner who added “And if you’ve got an effigy of MacGregor and Thatcher, it will make it last a little bit longer.” However there was one Stillingfleet miner in the crowd who one-upped the statements with one of his own t-shirt bearing the message, in distinct geometric type; “Come home to a living fire, burn Ian McGregor [sic]”.
Captured that day in 1984 by revered social photographer Martin Jenkinson, who took some of the most enduring images of the struggle, the shirt of Mark Davies has inspired the reinterpretation of the typography into the Stillingfleet typeface. With its unique diagonal cut to the tops of characters, the face features solid but striking quirks which compliment its structure, such as the tails of the G and Q. Completing the set, the font has been developed as an uppercase and small-cap display face with contemporary hairline glyphs to complement Liaison and Ferrymoor before it.
The typefaces are used in campaigning for the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign due to the strong associations it has with the events. The miner was at Orgreave, but also the NUM Branch Banner for Stillingfleet  dedicates an entire side to the policing on that picket line.
The entire idea of using these is to give the campaign a unique graphic voice that comes from the exact time and place of the campaign’s origins (1984), embedding it with meaning and a ‘story’ that’s larger than the communications themselves. Reproducing material in the colours from that dispute (Yellow, Black, Red) we further root the campaign in the time and place.
The typeface also allows for a unified visual identity for a campaign that is made up of numerous volunteers. No matter who creates the communication, leading with the typeface creates a distinct and direct visual connection to the OTJC. The campaign is ongoing in seeking a full public inquiry into the policing of events at Orgreave and despite a recent setback from the Home Secretary, the campaign continues. All proceeds from the typeface go to the campaign.
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