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Osmond Tshuma

By Terri Stone

Who: Osmond Tshuma

What: Colonial Bastard Rhodes typeface

Where: www.behance.net/gallery/11886313/COLONIAL-BASTARD-RHODES-TYPEFACE

Behance member since: 2013

The best typefaces aren’t just good-looking—they come with good stories, too. That’s certainly true of Colonial Bastard Rhodes, a face that subtly critiques the effects of colonialism in Africa.

Its lively and easy-to-read design echoes the frothy operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan; however, the legacy of African colonialism is anything but light-hearted. For typeface creator Osmond Tshuma, that seeming disparity is intentional. “Design is a powerful tool to make a statement,” he noted in an interview

Osmond began sketching the typeface by hand, and then he moved on to the Fontographer application.

Clockwise from top left: an overview of the uppercase alphabet; close-ups of a few characters; and Osmond’s illustrations of Cecil John Rhodes, Henry Morton Stanley, Otto Van Bismarck, and David Livingstone.

Osmond was born in Zimbabwe and now lives in South Africa. He began his formal schooling in fine art at Zimbabwe’s Peter Birch School of Art, and then he studied graphic design at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. He graduated last year.

The word “Rhodes” in the typeface’s name refers to Cecil John Rhodes, a major force in 19th-century British colonialism. (Among other things, he was the namesake of the British colony Southern Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe.) Osmond hopes to release three other typefaces in the Colonial Bastard family: Colonial Bastard Stanley, Colonial Bastard Bismarck, and Colonial Bastard Livingstone.