Artist Sophie Elinor created a strong and striking type for her IWD #EmbraceEquity design

 August 03, 2023

Australia typographer and graphic designer Sophie Elinor uses letterforms to bring the written word to life.

Sophie enjoys blending design and language through mediums like illustration, visual art, stop motion, craft and animation. Sophie's work is thoughtful - often exploring play, joy and humor - and she has a perpetual soft spot for vibrant color palettes that pack a punch.

Sophie also relishes purpose-driven work environments, where strong ethical values are upheld, and positive contributions are made.

Sophie is one of the many talented women who responded to the call-out for entries to the IWD x Typism annual Lettering Challenge. Sophie showed her support for the IWD Women Creatives Mission by creating unique artwork that celebrated the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme.

Understanding the difference between equality and equity

Before Sophie read up on the 2023 International Women's Day theme, she used equality and equity interchangeably. "I didn’t realize how different their meanings were. Equality gives the same resources to all, but equity recognizes that individuals often need different resources to create fairness," explains Sophie.

"If we’re all trying to see over a fence, someone tall might need nothing, whereas someone short needs a stepladder. In any context, a thriving, level playing field requires a thoughtful and tailored approach," adds Sophie.

"Equity is a significant and complex subject, but I wanted to try and reflect a little of it in the animated lettering here, with the "I", "T", and "Y", each given differently-sized boosts to raise them to the same level. Blooming florals appear after this happens - a botanical celebration."

Explaining her creative process 

In terms of Sophie's creative process, once she figured out the concept, the design started in Illustrator. Elinor wanted the type to be strong and striking and for the illustrations to be supporting actors.

"It underwent a fair few rounds of changes before I brought it all into After Effects to animate. I've been trying to broaden my animation skills lately, and Manon Louart's online classes inspired a few of the techniques I used in this design," says Sophie. 

Stepping aside to make room for others 

When asked to define Embrace Equity, Sophie explains: "Broadly, I think it's about acknowledging that we have wildly differing circumstances and identities. Further, it's also about championing activism, initiatives, scholarships or support systems that seek to raise those who need it."
"For me personally, embracing equity can come in the shape of recognizing my privilege; it can look like stepping aside to make room for others; it can be listening to and amplifying different voices where theirs are more impactful than my own; and it can be offering skills-based or general support," adds Sophie.

Sophie loved seeing all the IWD celebrations worldwide, spotlighting the fantastic achievements of those who identify as women. Finding these celebrations "inspiring and humbling", Sophie also saw them as a stark reminder that there is still so much work to be done.

Sharing her views on women and typography

Sophie comments on her views about gender issues relating to the world of women and typography. "I think these are primarily the same issues that affect women in most industries - gender pay gaps, access to childcare for working mothers, and the general weight of mental load...perhaps more specific to creative industries is the prevalence of impostor syndrome and the comparison trap," explains Sophie.

"Anecdotally, I see online a lot of creative women's work being plagiarized or appropriated by big brands. IP laws are so muddy, but it's essential to call out that disheartening behavior and try to set a better standard."

Hear more from Sophie about the world of typography

In 2019, Sophie a keynote speaker at the Typism conference on Australia's Gold Coast. Sophie's talk, Moving Words, was about finding meaning in typography, and layering storytelling through animation.

Watch it below!


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