typeface for jewish cultural institution in norway

alexfjelldal's picture

Hi
I'm looking for a typeface suitable for a jewish cultural institution in norway. Ir will be used for signage, letters, exhibitions, publications etc., must work in all sizes, and feature small caps, osf and the usual "expert" stuff. I want it to be modern, legible, and with a tiny "twist" to it. With "twist", i mean Oversized ink traps, signature letters, characteristic italics etc. I've only found one so far (after thinking for one hour), is etelka by storm type foundry http://www.stormtype.com/typefaces-fonts-shop/families-15-etelka

ideas, anyone? should condensed versions be a criterium?

thanks!

alex

William Berkson's picture

What is the purpose of the institution? Is it a synagogue, a museum, a charitable organization? Etelka seems a bit too 'trendy' for some institutions, which to me would call for something more classic.

alexfjelldal's picture

It is a museum, with exhibitions on jewish culture. The museum wants to make jewish culture contemporary, not something from the history books. I don't think it's too trendy, at least not in norway. Why do you think it's too trendy?

Hei Endre!
Klavika is too cold.

I'm looking for something like the more neutral fonts from emigre. I flipped through som emigre brochures, but their fonts are too funny.

thanks :-)

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Endre Berentzen's picture

I'll have a think about it tonight Alex.
Would be interesting to see which other fonts you've looked at to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for.

Maybe you could draw some influences from the famous jewish architect: Daniel Liebeskind.
He has done an amazing jewish building in Berlin for the Holocaust victims which is definetly contemporary:
http://www.daniel-libeskind.com/projects/show-all/jewish-museum-berlin/

Etelka might be too trendy for an American audience but norwegians are used to these types and it is definetly not too trendy.

William Berkson's picture

I guess trendy was not quite the right word. Both Etelka and many Emigre faces are rather self conscious and lack the strength and balance of great type IMHO.

If you want a fresh, contemporary look, but with the strength and dignity appropriate to a museum, I think Fedra, both the sans and serif, would be very good.

In the US Nextbook, an organization developing and promoting Jewish books is using it very successfully in their magazine, and you can see a bit of it on their web site. ok

alexfjelldal's picture

fedra is definitely a good alternative. And thanks a lot for the nextbook tip! Does anyone know of a "harsher" alternative to fedra, with for example larger ink traps?

alex

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Bison Design
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alexfjelldal's picture

William, do you happen to know what the logo og nextbook means? the angle next to the name?

alex
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Bison Design
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William Berkson's picture

I think the symbol is just supposed to be an arrow, pointing forward. It goes with the 'Next' idea, and has the visual message that they are not a stale repetition of past ideas--which is unfortunately very common--but a fresh take on Jewish tradition and culture. The combination of the straight and italic in the symbol just adds visual interest, and matches with both the roman title and italic subtitle.

Endre Berentzen's picture

PTL Skopex designed by Andrea Tinnes maybe?
http://typecuts.com/fonts.php?kid=1

fredo's picture

Hej Alex!
When I read that You were looking for ink-traps (faux or not) I thought about Christian Schwartz’ Amplitude. It could be a bit overused and not as new, though.
So maybe the latest effort from another young and promising type designer, Sebastian Lester; the gargantaun type family known as Soho?

William Berkson's picture

>“harsher” alternative to fedra

Has the client told you what kind of image they want?

'Harsh' seems inappropriate to me. At a time when hostility to Jews has been on the increase in Europe, Jews want to be seen as supporting dignity and well being of all humanity--which we do--not as being harsh.

fredo's picture

Perhaps it's harsh as in sharp and/or loud. As in Standing for what you are and not making excuses for it. I'm not saying that's what you're suggesting William, but I hope you see my point.

William Berkson's picture

>sharp and/or loud

Personally, if I were involved in this museum, I would very upset by a visual image that is aggressive, sharp or loud. It would be playing into the negative stereotypes of Jews, not representing the best in Jewish culture, which I suppose is what the museum would want to do.

Eg., what *not* to do would be something like the disastrous London 2012 Olympic symbol...

fredo's picture

It doesn't have to be aggressive, William. You're making this very black and white.

William Berkson's picture

>You’re making this very black and white.

Well, that may be. Jews feel they are subject to regular unfair and negative portrayals, and so the clients, if they are Jewish, are likely to be sensitive, and maybe hyper-sensitive, to this. I may be wrong, but I suspect they want to look contemporary, but not 'cutting edge' or 'edgy'. I think the main thing is to find out what the client thinks is appropriate.

I really admire the designers of the 'Next Book' identity and magazine, as they managed to hit just the right note.

poms's picture

Have a look at Freight Micro which could cause an interesting "rough" effect especially in large sizes –
http://www.garagefonts.com/typespecimens_2.html?sku=GF060016X1P2&start=1

fredo's picture

>I think the main thing is to find out what the client thinks is appropriate.

Considering he's already got the job, one might assume he's already been briefed and has the trust of his clients to make the right choice, hopefully not to cause an antisemitic outrage in Norway by choosing a typeface too bold.

Anyway, go Soho!

alexfjelldal's picture

>I think the symbol is just supposed to be an arrow, pointing forward.

i thought it had something to do with the hebraisc alphabet.

>Has the client told you what kind of image they want?

Yes, i have already been briefed. I don't think ink traps will trigger a surge of antisemitism.

Soho looks good, but I think a sans like fedra or edelka will do the trick.

thank you all so far,

alex

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Bison Design
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William Berkson's picture

>an antisemitic outrage in Norway by choosing a typeface too bold.

:) OK, I'm way more emotional about type than the public will ever be. But the challenge is of hitting the right emotional note, which the client and the museum visitors will intuitively feel. I am a fan of Soho, but I would think that something more humanist, like PMN Caecilia, would be more suitable, if you want to go in the direction of a slab. I still like Fedra better for this use, as it has both very modern and humanist qualities.

I will be interested to see what Alex comes up with and the feedback from the client.

timd's picture

Surely worth considering that in the future you might need a hebrew typeface to partner your choice.

Tim

1985's picture

I'm with Tim

writingdesigning's picture

Do you think Signa might be an option?

kongur's picture

I agree with Tim too. I can recommend a typographer friend of mine from Israel Oded Ezer www.ezerdesign.com and a good article about his designs http://www.pingmag.jp/2006/01/20/oded-ezer-experimental-hebrew-typography/

Also there is a type foundry called www.hagilda.com for hebrew typefaces.

William Berkson's picture

How important a companion Hebrew font is depends on whether they will actually use Hebrew to identify items, etc., in the exhibitions.

If it the museum material is bilingual, then of course it is very important. It the Hebrew is only in displayed items, it is of secondary importance.

Visually harmonizing Hebrew and roman is difficult, because Hebrew has thick horizontals and thin verticals, and roman is the other way around.

The most usual way to harmonize is by putting them in mirrored columns, so to speak.

One way is to use 'sans' style in both scripts, as these have less contrast. An interesting effort is the Hebrew font 'Erica Sans', (as in Eric Gill) which manages to 'Hebraicize' features of roman type in a good way. You can read about it here.

You can find other links to Hebrew foundries here.

Typophiler David Hamuel has also done some beautiful Hebrew fonts.

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