Udadisi, or curiosity, drives people to uncover the greatest contributions known to man in every aspect of life from medicine to design. It drives me to continue learning, growing, and truly living. In this book, we will take a design journey, sparked by curiosity, through the typography of Zanzibar written by the people on the island. After hearing a close friend describe the streets and sights of Zanzibar upon returning home from a year abroad, I was enthralled by
her stories. There is so much out there in the world that most people don’t ever get to experience because they don’t let their curiosity roam.
To begin this research, I scoured the streets of Google Maps searching for handcrafted typography on the streets of Zanzibar. Originally, I thought finding such specimens would be difficult because most signage these days is printed, however, it was anything but. Handmade signs were prevalent throughout the streets – from graffiti on the sides of buildings to menus on restaurant storefronts. Vernacular culture was everywhere in the letter forms and I was so excited. I began collecting my type specimens, one for each letter of the alphabet, and laid them out in my spreads with no idea in mind. It wasn’t until hearing one of my friend’s stories that I figured out the direction I wanted
this design to go. She told me of her first experience in the ocean once arriving on the island, where she traveled along the coast in a boat hand-made by a local. Zanzibar is a beautiful place and its unique style needed to be shown.
While this project was a joy to create, it was no easy feat. I struggled finding addresses on most buildings and image quality was not at its best. Setting that aside, it was a magical feeling searching the streets on Google Maps for vernacular culture and compiling my favorite specimens into this very special Wander Type book to share with you. I think my favorite part of this journey was listening to my friend’s stories and learning new sayings in Swahili. My hope is that you take away from this book, if anything at all, an urge to be curious. Life is precious but never promised. Explore this great opportunity and be curious of the unknown.
About the Author: Shannon Kunkel
Shannon Kunkel is a curios dreamer who loves to discover and create. She is a student at Nova Southeastern University pursuing a degree in graphic design. She enjoys everything adventure related including hiking, surfing, and cliff jumping. She also has a drive for learning about other countries and their cultures. Living in Hawaii for two years allowed her to greatly appreciate the Hawaiian culture but African culture has always piqued her interest as well. So, when a close friend of hers moved to Zanzibar for a year and came back with amazing stories of her travels Shannon knew she needed to learn more.
View the Project:
Wander Type: Zanzibar