Pangrams that mean something: Tiny reminders to #StayHome.

As an Art Director, I see pangrams and placeholder text every day, so I figured it’d be nice to make some sense of them now.

Adam Stark, Art Director at ANR BBDO

Typography is an important component of great design. And for designers, selecting the right type can be an enormous challenge with so many varying styles and weights to choose from. To help, pangrams are often used to quickly get an overview of what a particular font looks like in use.

For the uninitiated, a pangram is a unique sentence in which every letter of a particular alphabet is used at least once. Its origin comes from the Greek root words “pan,” meaning “all,” and “gram,” meaning “something written or recorded.”

You may be familiar with perhaps the most famous pangram:

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

While the use of these devices is critical to the design process, pangrams tend to have a completely functional purpose, with no meaningful message attached (no disrespect to the quick brown fox or the lazy dog, of course).

At Monotype, we utilize these messages across our various commerce channels, such as MyFonts.com, as well as in Mosaic, a platform for font discovery, expertise, collaboration and management. Recently, we were approached by our friends at ANR BBDO with the idea to reimagine a set of pangrams placing “Tiny Reminders” for the creative community to stay home and stay safe during this ongoing pandemic.

“As an Art Director, I see pangrams and placeholder text every day, so I figured it’d be nice to make some sense of them now. Everyone of course knows they should stay at home, but we could all need a tiny reminder.” Says Adam Stark, Art Director at ANR BBDO.

The Tiny Reminders include a series of updated pangrams written by the team at ANR BBDO that we will be updating on our Mosaic platform. We encourage the creative community to use as placeholder text while designing until we are deemed able to return to “normal” activity. These pangrams are:

  • Stay home, said the quick brown fox who jumped over the lazy dog.
  • Stay home. Like a vexingly daft zebra named Chuq who can’t jump.
  • Stay home. Pack a box with five dozen liquor jugs.
  • Stay home and watch “Jeopardy!”, Alex Trebek’s fun tv quiz game.
  • Stay home, and the sphinx of black quartz who judges vows, will say wow.
  • Stay home. Reimagine the ymca choreography with bcdfjklquvxz.
  • Stay home. Do a quick waltz with Jfxnpgb, your lazy dog.

For longer placeholder text, the team has also rewritten a segment from Alice in Wonderland:

Stay home. Go to your bookshelf and pick out one of the books you never read but saved for later. Read the blurb on the back and whisper to yourself ‘mmm… still fascinating’. Put the book back onto the shelf, then open the fridge. Make a ham sandwich and put a full teaspoon of Dijon mustard on it. Eat it and make your taste buds feel like they belong to a human who feels alive. Call your mother and make sure she’s ok. Tell her that your mouth is on fire and ask her to tell a story from when you were little that she never told you because she was afraid to embarrass you. A story that’s somehow ok to tell now when doomsday feels close even if it’s only the economy, your economy, your social life, and your sanity, that’s doomed. Laugh in an exaggerated way when she tells you the punchline. Then slowly, let your body produce a sincere giggle. What a silly kid you were. But you developed into an adult with self-control that keeps you from drinking wine for breakfast and skip at least 70% of the clickbait that Facebook throws at you. You’re a soldier in the war against an invisible enemy, but not a regular soldier, you’re some sort of a commando soldier, because you don’t have a balcony. And if you do have a balcony, you’re still an elite soldier because when you do go out to buy medicines or groceries, you actually smile at people on the street. Actually, maybe you’re more of a codebreaker, like those folks at Bletchley Park. You’re not a math genius, obviously, but not everyone at Bletchley Park was a math genius. Some probably just identified as “a dog person” and what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with anyone identifying as an anything person? If you do, you’ve identified something within yourself that rings true and fits all big social platforms’ character restrictions for bios. Anyway, now go back to your bookshelf and pick out a book that you’ve read before, a story that makes you feel comfortable, like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Just open the book at a random place and start reading aloud to yourself: She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, ‘Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?’ when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over. Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment: she looked up, but it was all dark overhead; before her was another long passage, and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, ‘Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!’ She was close behind it when she turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.

We realize that these Tiny Reminders are in fact, a truly tiny initiative in a sea of incredibly impactful response by brands and individuals around the world. But while we look for meaning throughout our day, as designers, we hope this copy will add a bit more purpose to your process. 

Over the past several weeks, the creative community has heeded the UN call to design messages that inspire and inform. At Monotype, we’re making a series of fonts free to creatives looking to participate. You can download them using the following links:

Be well!