American Indian / Native American language fonts

cardinal's picture

Through the search, I've found one very useful discussion on this topic,
which is now 3 years old. http://typophile.com/node/16467

It seems that the task was started, but when I search for these fonts (for purchase/for use) I am having trouble locating them.
I am also very interested in designing a few different fonts for these languages, beginning specifically with Ojibwe.

I am culling my research to hopefully write a grant to begin work on this. I appreciate all help the typophiles can provide!
cardinal

JosephErb's picture

It still needs some work but you can see the bare bones of some things. We looked at hand writing and tried to get a thinner more balanced look and roy did most of the tech work on this. This is just a sample and not cleaned up but it might help some out there have another thing to reference. It is strange still for most elders to see a font that changed so much compared to the type face we have had for almost two hundred years. but we are trying to make the language work better for the youth and the future.

JosephErb's picture

here is another sample of a verb book that used a thin font...

John Hudson's picture

Thanks. Joesph. One of the things I have wondered about is the number of zigzags on Ꮸ and Ᏻ, and I see that you have fewer in your thing font than in the traditional type.

JosephErb's picture

IT changes in hand writing and from one font to another...

hrant's picture

Wow, I never knew Jack Tramiel was Cherokee.

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

You don't know Jack. :-)

JosephErb's picture

ᏟᎾᎷᎷᎾᎠᏫᏒᎬ ᏣᎳᎩ jack.

JosephErb's picture

:) :Ꭰ ᏑᎠ ;Ꮲ ᏑᏢ cherokee emoticons

people started making them on facebook about six months ago...

hrant's picture

I'm just seeing Unicode boxes. :-(
But I can imagine how cool they must be!

BTW, here's an Armenian one! :Ճ
Although since it's Armenian :¬Ճ would be more anatomically correct!

hhp

TylerEldredge's picture

Hrant, that was hilarious! Haha!

I'd be interested to see some samples of handwriting in Cherokee. I've thought about playing with a script font for Cherokee, but, in all honesty, I have no idea what the glyphs would look like.

And aside from Cherokee, what about expanding fonts to include the diacritics regularly used in Lakota? Letters like ŋ or ȟ have very poor support, I've seen books restricted to using TNR because it was the only font that had enough character support. No one should be forced to use TNR, heavens.

Khaled Hosny's picture

Looking for fonts covering Cherokee (since I was seeing Unicode boxes here), I found these Free fonts (GPL v3) and the sans font is particularly interesting...

charles ellertson's picture

Tyler, I've set Lakota, both using the Ella Doria orthography and the Buchtel orthography. In the days of the Linotron 202 -- before 1992 or so -- you really were limited to Times. Of course, that was a better Times.

Now, with Adobe fonts anyway, anyone can pretty easily modify a font to include all the Lakota characters. I've done this for a couple, including Minion. The problem is you cannot *distribute* those fonts -- but you can certainly make them up for your own use.

hrant's picture

Well, for Adobe fonts for one you can distribute them to
people who [tell you that they] own a license to the original.

hhp

charles ellertson's picture

Hrant:

Really? from the Adobe FAQ site, http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/antipiracy/ff_faq.html

For example, you can use Macromedia Fontographer or Pyrus FontLab to customize an Adobe Font for individual usage, but you are not permitted to distribute, sell, or give away, the derivative work, and the derivative work counts as one of the permitted number of uses."

and

A consultant may solicit their services to companies who have legitimately licensed copies of Adobe font software. The work product of the consultant must remain with the company. The consultant cannot (i) take or keep a copy of the company’s original, localized, or customized version of the font software, or (ii) distribute any original, localized or customized versions of the font software.

hrant's picture

Basically parties that own licenses of a given Adobe font can give each other mods.

When I did a mod to Garamond Premier Pro (I was commissioned to add 10 new
compound letters, each in UC and lc, for setting transliterated Sanskrit) the client
owned a license, and I had a license thanks to owning InDesign* so it was fine.

* Which I won in a contest to find a
name for Thomas Phinney's Adobe blog. :-)

hhp

charles ellertson's picture

What can I say but repeat that isn't what the FAQ seems to say, or what I understood Christopher Slye to say in an email exchange earlier this year. I could be wrong. It would be nice if somebody from Adobe would step in and clarify this. The EULAs-as-amended-by FAQs are a mess. And as Tyler's post shows, it matters.

Christopher Slye's picture

Well, for Adobe fonts for one you can distribute them to people who [tell you that they] own a license to the original.

Nope. This part of the FAQ is fairly straightforward:

... you can use the converted software for your own customary and internal business use, but you may not redistribute, resell, or transfer this converted or modified font software to anyone beyond the scope of your license for the original font software.

hrant's picture

Hmmm, well OK, sorry.
The thing is I do remember getting a sort of quasi-official "go ahead"
before doing the Garamond Premier Pro job. I'm pretty sure of that since
I didn't actually try to decrypt the EULA - I relied on that "go ahead".

Now, about that "internal":
Would it be OK if I were an employee of the client?
What's the difference between an employee and a consultant?
This is all quite gray isn't it?

hhp

DavidL's picture

I think I recall the case Hrant mentions, and I'm probably the person who gave him the go-ahead. But I see the context got a bit scrambled.

It's fine for the party who's licensed the font to commission someone else to make the modifications. That person should have a legitimate copy of the font as well. And that's the situation Hrant was in. But those modifications should be restricted to the original licensee, not distributed to others.

Is that a bit clearer?
- thanks,
David L

hrant's picture

Thanks David - I feel better now!

There's still a patch of medium gray that we might hopefully
move closer to white or black: what's the difference between
the party who requested the modification versus any other
party who has a legit copy of that same font?

hhp

charles ellertson's picture

It's fine for the party who's licensed the font to commission someone else to make the modifications. That person should have a legitimate copy of the font as well. (Why? it is expertise that's being solicited, not a license.) And that's the situation Hrant was in. But those modifications should be restricted to the original licensee, not distributed to others.

Is that a bit clearer?

Not really. Let's take a situation that is very, very close to factual. There are about 100 AAUP presses. I'd guess that at least 50 of them use InDesign, and have more or less stayed current with the various releases. Therefore, in spite of the human tendency to improve the facts, I can be pretty certain all those presses have at least one licensed copy of Minion. Moreover, many of them know we've "modified" Minion's character complement over the years, in order to set to set transliterated Arabic, Indic Scripts, Navaho, Lakota, etc.

They have licenses, we have a license. In response to requests for our fonts, I've always said, "I'm sorry, the Adobe license prohibits it."

This on the basis of anther part of the FAQ:

A consultant may solicit their services to companies who have legitimately licensed copies of Adobe font software. The work product of the consultant must remain with the company. The consultant cannot (i) take or keep a copy of the company’s original, localized, or customized version of the font software, or (ii) distribute any original, localized or customized versions of the font software.

It gets down to what "distribute" means. I could furnish the those 50 AAUP presses with the modified Minion if I physically go to their place of business, take nothing with me (strip searched at the door? MRI to make sure I hadn't swallowed a flash drive?), do the work, then take nothing with me as I leave (more searches & radiation from another MRI?) But to send them a copy as an email attachment is prohibited.

That about right?

Does it make sense to your lawyers?

Christopher Slye's picture

Charles, I think you're looking at it the wrong way. Think of it this way:

Adobe allows one to modify their Adobe-licensed font, but not distribute it. The modified font is for private use. Adobe, however, recognizes that this private use is often what we call "internal business use." Furthermore, any individual person or business might need to hire an expert to do these modifications, but that is work for hire.

The problem with the scenario you describe above is that you essentially have the font and are distributing it. Place A needs the font, so you go give it to them; Place B needs the font, so you go give it to them. Places A and B might have their own licenses, but the modified font needs to originate and stay with a single person or business. It can't originate with you and then be distributed to multiple people or businesses.

Here's the bottom line. Most foundries do not allow font modifications, but Adobe has tried to distinguish itself by allowing it, with restrictions. We don't want modified fonts to be distributed or become new "products" so we've chosen to draw the line here.

(Disclaimers: I Am Not A Lawyer. Your own font EULA is the sole determinant of what is and isn't allowed.)

charles ellertson's picture

Thanks Christopher,

It seems to me I'm looking at it exactly the right way. The font software cannot be distributed, but the work (through a hired consultant) can be be distributed -- done at any location on a properly licensed font. So, taking no software, I could flit about the country, modifying Minion for people. Hopefully the strip searches would not be needed -- I'm an old man, it would be ugly.

Suppose we take the airplane out of it. I, as a hired consultant, from my console, can log onto the client's computer and open up their copy of Minion in my font editing program. I make the needed modifications, then save the files only on their hard drive.

But I cannot (and BTW, I have not) been sending people a copy. Forgive me, but does no one else find this ludicrous?

hrant's picture

I've said this before: bravo Adobe.

hhp

Khaled Hosny's picture

@Charles:
Which answers a very recently asked question:

"... an open source typeface can be redistributed and modified."

and what is the value of that?

:)

charles ellertson's picture

Khaled,

Yes.

BTW, several other foundries allow modification, you just have to receive permission first. But all of them like Adobe, prohibit distributing the modified fonts.

And while I laud Adobe's policy on letting people modify fonts for their own use, between the peculiarities of *publishing* font software, and the differences between digital and print editions facing book publishers, open source fonts are becoming more and more attractive to me. Not to "me" as a typesetter -- we get a competitive advantage from having fonts other people don't/can't have -- but as I think about the industry I'm in, and its future.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I think one key point of the discussion about modifying Adobe fonts hinges on the meaning of the word "distribute." In this case it's a legal sense of the word, and might be subject to debate.

One might argue that overall it would be in Adobe's interest to allow the kind of distribution that Charles is doing. But then again, if Adobe were to add such characters themselves in the future, they might not like such pre-modified versions being too widespread. :/

Cheers,

T

charles ellertson's picture

Hi Thomas -- I'd say yes, and no. To take a somewhat longer view, I think we an assume Unicode will be around for a while. Longer than OpenType, and certainly longer than InDesign. Those of us with thining, graying hair remember the rush to archive jobs in Quark -- this after the rush to archive jobs in "Compugraphic." Etc.

Now, making up the characters is usually trivial. Most are a Latin character plus one or more combining diacriticals. (Of course, it would help if Adobe & other font publishers would include the Unicode combining diacriticals in their font, but as the barman in Irma La Duce said, "That's another story.")

The problem is how perfectly correct Unicode can occur in a manuscript. A character can be formed in any number of ways. We have a few manuscripts come in where even "aacute" is formed (typed) by the string "a" plus the "acute combining" diacritical. We get around such issues by having a "manuscript cleanup stage," and our rule is that all constructions that have a Unicode number assigned are converted to that, and all that don't are broken down into their components. We don't allow, for example, eacute with a macron below, we ensure the string is e, plus macron below, plus acute. (& remember that while the ordering of accents within a plane is specified by Unicode, the order of the planes is not. Yet one more issue). For such with no single Unicode point, I make them up & write (usually, add to) a ccmp feature.

Now think of the problem a font publisher faces. They usually feel they can't make such assumptions, and have to support any of the several ways such characters can occur. Anybody unconvinced take a look at SIL's ccmp & mark/mkmk features for a font like Charis. It is no wonder that this kind of support is lacking.

It is part of a larger issue, font publishers don't view book publishers as a significant market, so they don't address the workflows book publishers need. Take a look, for example, at Biblovault or codeMantra. People who archive books, and make other products from the "print" book file, for the original publisher. Even a site license for fonts -- expensive -- makes the use of such companies technically illegal. Best I can tell, you can't get a site license that covers multiple businesses. Not from Adobe, anyway.

So we're left with "don't ask, don't tell," except there is no way to make the products without telling. I guess it is "don't ask," and since we have to tell, don't even look.

John Hudson's picture

It seems to me that there is a real difference between

a) modifying an Adobe font and advertising the fact that you have done so and offering to make the modified font available -- whether for free or for a price -- to other licensees of the original Adobe font;

and

b) modifying an Adobe font for your own purposes or the purposes of a client and also providing that font to other clients who seek the same modifications.

That is, there seems to be a difference between being in the business of distributing modified fonts and being in the business of providing modified fonts to people who commission them. One way in which I always seek to conform with Adobe's license terms in this respect is to personalise the modified fonts for the individual client, even if the same set of modifications to character set, etc. apply (although, off hand, I'm having trouble thinking of a situation in which more than one client wanted exactly the same set of modifications).

charles ellertson's picture

(although, off hand, I'm having trouble thinking of a situation in which more than one client wanted exactly the same set of modifications).

Which takes us back to the topic and fonts that support Native American languages. I've had a number of clients who want the same thing, as long as they're setting Navajo, or Lakota, or Kiowa, etc.

hrant's picture

Joseph, nice!
The Old English is pretty gutsy, in more ways than one. :-)

hhp

chungdehtien's picture

can someone please tell me the origin of Plantagenet Cherokee. who created it and why a few of the syllables differ from the original Sequoyah design. syllable like "quo" "wi" "do". Thank you- chung deh tien

hrant's picture

Because Sequoyah's design needs a lot of work?

hhp

quadibloc's picture

After encountering this thread, I saw the following news item:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/19/cherokee_version_windows/

Si_Daniels's picture

Also... http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2012/12/19/10379263.aspx

:-)

>can someone please tell me

Apparently a decade or so after the metal type was introduced the design of a few of the characters changed. Plantagenet originally contained the original forms, but was later revised to reflect the revised character shapes. I believe the windows 8 version of Plantagenet contains the older forms as stylistic alternates.

Cheers, Si

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