The BayBayan font seamlessly combines pre-colonial Baybayin scripts with the modern alphabet in an intricate typeface whose origins tie deeply into Philippine heritage.

The enthusiasm at our March “Type Drives Culture” conference underscores everyone’s desire to learn more about modern innovations inspired by ancient scripts.

Misha Lecaros of Manila’s award-winning creative agency TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno told us about a recently completed typography project for the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) that we want to share:

“It’s called BayBayan, and it involved our designers taking the country’s oldest-known form of writing and incorporating it into the modern roman alphabet.

The project was conceived to help create interest and awareness for the ancient Baybayin script among the youth, having existed in the Philippine Islands since before the arrival of our Spanish colonizers in 1521. Today, the script is most often only used as a decorative element, rather than any substantial form of communication.”

Literally translated, “Baybayin” in Tagalog means “to spell, write, and syllabize.” Scholars find evidence of its use going back to the first century.

In an interview with CNN, CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado said, “The Baybayin is a way of writing that was handed down to us by our ancestors….We had a way of expressing our thoughts, our feelings, and capturing what was happening around us. By bringing back the Baybayin [through the font], it’s opening a channel back to this legacy.”

This video shows BayBayan font in action:

Scroll through the website, which contains interactive section that lets you move your mouse across the letters to see the ancient and modern letterforms morph and transform. For more on the background of this ancient script, read the historical essay.

Beginning in September 2019, the BayBayan font will be integrated in all corporate documents and major signage around the CCP complex – reminding everyone that the drive for Philippine creativity’s future is rooted in a nod to the past.

Baybayan website: