Fonts for Days: Introducing Type Thursday Yerevan

A newbie to the Armenian alphabet and language herself, Badasian presented a play she was working on involving the Armenian word “tuyn” (թույն), which means “poison” and, more colloquially, “cool”. She shared images of her early sketches and described her process of designing the graphic, revealing the neon yellow, orange, and salmon color palette of the final piece which loosely draws inspiration from the story’s poison colors.

Emil Ter-Avetikiants explains the inspiration of his Armenian police (photo Gabriel Ouzounian)

During her feedback session, a participant asked if she had considered creating a font from her “tuyn” graphic. Here again, we were reminded of the challenge of creating fonts – you’re tasked with solving a puzzle, coming up with a system where every letter fits, no matter what you write.

Badasian’s ‘tuyn’ graphic was a prime example of how creating characters with the letters of the Armenian alphabet presents its own unique set of challenges while also highlighting the ever-changing nature of letter shapes. The Armenian letter “թ” is generally written or made taller and taller than most other letters. In recent years, however, the letter has undergone some sort of change as fonts and letter shapes opt for a smaller, more Latinized “թ” that more easily fits other letters. According to Jihanian, who had a lot to say during Badasian’s presentation, this tendency to Latinize letters was becoming a trend.

During Jihanian’s presentation, the audience was able to recognize the painstaking work involved in creating a cohesive typeface. Each chapter of Type Thursday, aside from their unifying mission, uses the same signature font (which you’ll notice in the stickers pictured above). Having devoted his life to typing with Armenian letters, it seemed entirely appropriate that Jihanian created the Armenian version of this signature font.

This is not the first time that Jihanian has worked with Armenian police. He is credited with contributing to the overhaul of TypeTogether’s Adelle Sans Armenian font, which “provides a clean and spirited take on the traditional grotesque sans for Armenian audiences.” During his presentation, Jihanian expressed that often it is too easy to default to Latin fonts and fonts because there are simply not enough Armenian fonts. For this reason, he continues to focus his efforts on revitalizing the Armenian language both in Armenia and for the global diaspora community.

As a member of the diaspora who had never interacted with his father’s mother tongue, I moved to Armenia on a mission to learn the Armenian language and alphabet. I recognized this skill as a step towards preserving my heritage while giving me the opportunity to interact more deeply with my culture. Although it doesn’t intimidate me like it once did, the Armenian alphabet is still beautiful to me. Falling in love with this alphabet has engendered a deeper love for its language, and therefore its – my – culture.

By creating a space for the Armenian design community, Type Thursday Yerevan not only uplifts that community, but elevates Armenian language and culture while encouraging design-oriented thinking. The event sets typography parameters that are both clear and flexible, facilitating a creative and thoughtful awareness regarding the art form.

What I like most, however, is its accessibility, especially for those of us who aren’t graphic designers or typographers. After all, in most cases, it will be the ordinary person who interacts with these designs in the real world, whether it’s using a particular font to type something, or buying a product depending on the l brand appearance or simply reading a sign. in the street.

Free stickers bearing the mention “Type Thursday Yerevan” are offered during the event (photo Gabriel Ouzounian)

Yerevan may be a small city, but it is full of talent in many areas. So why do we mainly hear about growth and innovation in areas like the tech industry? As successful companies like PicsArt make Armenia a global consciousness, and organizations like ONEArmenia and HIKEArmenia create platforms for the country’s burgeoning experiential tourism and hiking culture, design should also have its place. Here is an opportunity to develop and uplift the Armenian design community while encouraging the economic growth of the country. With all the challenges that Armenia has faced and continues to face, we must continue to build its economy.

With its seed money depleted and its first successful event, Type Thursday Yerevan faces a new challenge: finding funding. The Chapter is currently seeking a space to sponsor its monthly events as well as potential food and beverage partners. If they can guarantee that, Type Thursday Yerevan will not only survive, but thrive. The next Type Thursday Yerevan event will take place on October 7 at 8 p.m. ET. Hoping that there will be many more events to come!


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About Nell Love

Nell Love

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