San Serriffe Island

14 April 2014  |   0 Comments   |    |  

Serif, make me laugh !

There was a time that people under 37 can't know,
the Guardian in those days used to make good April fools!

On April 1, 1977, Guardian readers discovered a 7-page dossier on a new country called San Serriffe. This would be an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, made up of 2 islands forming a semicolon.

The dossier is complete, detailing the history of the island and its inhabitants, from local culture to the country's currency and members of its government.

Carte de San Serriffe

We learn that the President, General G. H. Pica, is elected for life (Cf: Point Pica, the main unit of measurement in typography), that the country's capital is Bodoni, the national currency is the Corona de San Serriffe, and the leader of the opposition is called "Ralph Baskerville"!

Tourist resorts: Umbra, Perpetua
Minister of Education, Public Affairs and Women's Rights: Esmeralda Pica
Island Bishop: Reverend Martin Goudy
There's even the following name: Place Gutenberg

Guardian San Serriffe April Fool 1977

San Serriffe front page

The typographic hoax of the century

At the time of the hoax, typographical jargon wasn't as widespread as it is today, so many readers were fooled, and reacted in the "readers' letters" section, some even recounting their last vacation in San Serriffe. Even the advertisers of the day were invited to write about the country. At the time, the editorial staff was also receiving letters of complaint from tour operators and airlines, who found themselves at a loss when faced with customers who didn't want to believe in the fictitious nature of the archipelago. Too much !

Initially, the idea was to place the island in the Atlantic Ocean, near Tenerife, but following the crash of a Boeing in Tenerife a few days before publication, it was moved to the Indian Ocean, near the Seychelles.

This hoax has become such a classic that Guardian subscribers can choose "San Serriffe" as their country of origin when registering on the newspaper's website.

Source : Thanks to @GeoffreyDorne for introducing me to this typographical hoax

April Fools in the shape of an island

Continuing with the island-shaped April Fools', here's an article on the 2014 Cnes hoax !
poisson d'avril photographie aérienne

If you want to know more, check out our typographic documentaries on famous typefaces !

Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Leave us your email and receive your monthly dose of Graphéine in your mailbox.