Westboro Baptist Church has an unholy affection for the font: ITC Kabel.
I recently saw the disturbing documentary, “Fall from Grace” by filmmaker K. Ryan Jones. The film follows the activities of a fundamentalist “group” from Topeka, Kansas—(pretty much just one family)—who have managed to alienate everyone (left, right and in between) with their peculiar fusion of gay-bashing and anti-americanism.
Westboro Baptist Church is led by Pastor Fred Phelps, a lawyer who was disbarred in the mid-90s for witness intimidation, who started the church fifty years ago. It is a small group, comprised mostly of members of the Phelps family, but their hatred is prolific. They demonstrate anywhere they feel that their message is applicable, like the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming student who was killed for being gay and most recently, at the funerals of military servicemen and women killed in Iraq.
—from the film’s online synopsis
(a photo of the filmmaker and more to read after the jump)
Watching this movie, I kept wondering which family member it was, who handled
the graphics for those signs. With the consistent use of one, horizontally-scaled font, and
the bright fluorescent backgrounds, those signs have succeeded in giving
this awful group its own "graphic identity". An identity as
distinctively recognizable (in its own way) as, say, Barbara Kruger.
Unlike Kruger, whose use of red, black and Futura Bold Oblique were in the service of fine art (and ironic polemics), the graphic intentions of the Westboro Baptist Church are sincerely hateful. Nothing ironic about it. When their sign says, “God hates you” they actually seem to mean it.
I guess it’s not the first time that graphic design has ever been used in the service of hateful cause. A certain Führer was also known to dabble pretty effectively in it.