Art director

Inspired by mom, Lyft’s artistic director creates new font to benefit Parkinson’s research


Morten Halvorsen, Associate Creative Director and Art Director at Lyft, has watched his mother, Vera, suffer from the increasingly severe effects of Parkinson’s disease for eight years. Unable to change his diagnosis, Halvorsen did what only an art director would think he would: he created a new font.

His name is Shake and the font is based on his mother’s increasingly shy letters. A sign of Parkinson’s disease is deterioration in fine motor skills, including micrography, an unusually small and compressed handwriting.

“I was home over Thanksgiving, and like anyone with older parents, I’m the family’s go-to tech support,” said Halvorsen, who works for San Francisco-based Lyft, while her mother and her stepfather live in Klofta. , a small farming town outside of Oslo, Norway.

“I was updating her iPad * when she handed me a note with a password on it. The letters were small and patchy and shaky, and I just thought she was going to lose soon. her handwriting. I asked her to write the whole alphabet on the spot. Without even asking why, she gave it a go.

Halvorsen’s mother wrote uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as typographic symbols, without question. He then formatted them to create the Shake font, the proceeds of which will go to Parkinson’s disease research.

“I asked my mom to choose which charity she wants to donate money to and I will contact whoever she chooses to see if we can partner up and get their help to spread it even more,” said Halvorsen. Currently, they are reviewing the American Parkinson’s Disease Association and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The project has already attracted many enthusiastic supporters at Lyft and elsewhere. Halvorsen partnered with CodeWave, a digital production company based in Poland, who volunteered to create Shake’s website, write with Parkinson.

At Lyft, Halvorsen thanked his writing partner, Matt Vitou, for help with the copy and Executive Creative Director, Tim Roan, for choosing the font name.

“Lyft’s creative department is totally egoless, so everyone is keen to help each other on Lyft projects or side projects,” said Halvorsen.

“It’s always nice to receive praise from other creators and the industry, but the most heartwarming comments are the messages I’ve received from people who have Parkinson’s themselves or who know someone who has it, ”said Halvorsen. “Plus, my mom is pretty proud, and let’s face it, nothing beats a mom’s love.”

As for Lyft, one of his favorite missions is also service-oriented. He worked on Lyft’s “The Ride to Vote” project which offered free and discounted rides to polling stations for underserved communities in the 2018 election.


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