Write By: Katie Dooley

We love big newsworthy stories where graphic design takes a critical role. Design is an active participant in our lives, and Fontgate, is a great example. 

Part of the Panama Papers leak in 2017, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, was linked to offshore real estate in London, England. Opponents of the government alleged that the money used to buy the flat was earned from corruption.

Nawaz had plans of being her father’s political successor, so owning property earned through corruption is not the best look. She produced a document saying she was only the trustee, and that her brother, who had no political designs, was the owner of the property.

This is where it gets oh so good for designers around the world. The document she produced was signed and dated February 2006, in a font that wasn’t available until 2007. Leading investigators to believe that the document was falsified.

Typography experts are often used in court cases for just such instances, though they rarely grab headlines as Fontgate did. If you want to learn more about typography and court cases, check out Thomas Phinney, the self-proclaimed Font Detective.

We got to see him give a live talk (long before COVID) about all the super cool cases he’s worked on–he has some great YouTube videos, too!