A NEW typeface inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is being made available free to anyone who would like to use it for a good cause.

Called Bobby Grotesque, it has been designed in the wake of protests about the statue of Robert Peel in Glasgow’s George Square.

It has been drawn up by graduating art student Jack Batchelor, the co-designer of a typeface called Flourish, which adorns the recently unveiled mural at the Barrowland Ballroom depicting Booker prize-winning novel Shuggie Bain.

Batchelor said his latest creation was born from his anger over Peel’s statue which was the target of BLM protests last summer. He was not part of the demonstration, as his mother was shielding during the pandemic, but said he was concerned the issue appeared to have died down.

He now hopes his new typeface, which can be viewed on the Glasgow School of Art Graduate Showcase, could be used for a worthy cause.

“It is sitting there waiting for someone to speak something important,” he said. “I have tried to do my best with it but I am just one wee white boy from the southside so I’d like to find people to collaborate with me on it. The real message we have seen from the past few years is that community action and community power is an incredibly important and meaningful force so it is not really right for me to use that voice greedily for myself. The typeface is for anyone to use so long as I agree with the sentiment.”

He said if anyone wanted to use the font for a socially conscious purpose he would try to help in any way he could, whether it was just giving permission for it to be used or to help with any design.

“I’d like the typeface to be used to give people a voice,” said Batchelor. “The momentum behind the Robert Peel statue protests seems to have disappeared, which is a shame, but I think the typeface could still be used to speak the truth.”

In the GSA Showcase, Batchelor uses the typeface to highlight the case of Sheku Bayoh, whose family are campaigning for a criminal probe following his death in police custody in Kirkcaldy.

After the Peel statue protests, defenders of Robert Peel said the objectors were targeting the wrong man as it was his father who had made his money from the slave trade.

However, Batchelor pointed out that Peel junior, who was Prime Minister on two occasions, still profited from the trade.

“His lineage comes directly from that history and, whether or not he himself was a party to it, he still benefited from it. The big issue around reparations boils down to whether or not any of us want to acknowledge that we do benefit from that history in some way. It is time to acknowledge that and try to fix it.”

Peel is also recognised as one of the founders of the modern day police force and Batchelor argued that the police cannot be removed from the UK’s racist history.

“The essential function of the police has always been to protect private property and monied interests and very little of it has to do with maintaining public safety,” he said. “Although the Peelian principles sound on paper a bit more decent than what came before, which was military rule, it is still not the system we should be moving towards. Crime is an expression, or a symptom of poverty – when people are marginalised, laden with debts, denied access to support systems, economically stunted, essentially cut out of the system due to the colour of their skin or their class, when there are no legal means of recourse to make money, to survive – what good are the police then, other than to perpetuate those same cycles of poverty? What help is a criminal record, or a spell in our brutal prison systems to someone who wants to change their lives for the better?”

Batchelor’s work and contact details can be found at www.gsashowcase.net/jack-batchelor