Elaborate but Formal Hebrew Fonts: Meiri, Yerushalmi, and …?

JCSalomon's picture

 The invitations to my wedding just came back from the printer, and they got me to reconsidering a point I'd made before: the dearth of formal script-y Hebrew fonts. There are some really nice text fonts, and lots of fun ones, but only two that I've seen used on invitations & the like: Meiri (e.g., this site) and Yerushalmi (like here, or this example:

from my brother's invitations).
 (Actually, that's not entirely correct; I've seen the occasional modern script or Vilna-like "standard" print or even Hadassah, but those two fonts are well-nigh universal.)
 Are there real alternatives? Readable, but also more decorative than would be used in a siddur.
 (I have my own idea I've been playing with, but I'm looking for already-available alternatives.)
—Joel

david h's picture

> but also more decorative than would be used in a siddur.

What is more decorative that you're looking for?

> Meiri (e.g., this site) and Yerushalmi (like here, or this example:

Stay away from the second site! I'm not familiar with the first one.

gohebrew's picture

Another very attractive decorative Hebrew font was "Yahalomim" or "Diamonds" offered by FontWorld (www.fontworld.com) a number of years ago. I understand that it together with other popular Hebrew designs are being converted into the new OpenType font format from Adobe and MiscroSoft.

It was marketing originally in Israel by Letraset in the eighties as a stick-down letter. As computer-based typesetting replaced the old fashioned the stick-down letter based typesetting of traditional graphic artists. I do nit know who was the designer, as often Letraset of Israel simply purchased the designs from Israeli graphic artists, and unfortunately did not acknowledge their creative contribution in their products.

Another popular decorative design offered by FontWorld was the "Bar Mitzvah" Hebrew typeface design.

gohebrew's picture

> and Yerushalmi (like here, or this example:

JCSolomon,

Your brother's invitation is truly beautiful. May you have much happiness from him.

Now, let's critque.

First, I agree that there is a dearth of decorative Hebrew typeface designs, although this one is beautiful.

The final chof in the 3rd row, and the 14th letter from the right, is poorly designed. It is over weighted, both on the horizontal thicker top, and the vertical narrower right side. This is either a font software glitch, or a design error.

After careful inspection, also in the top row, and the 15th letter from the right, the final mehm is also poorly weighted. Again, this is either a font software glitch, or a design error.

I suspect that this is sloppy work at the font production level. Perhaps, the font maker/programmer poorly scanned the images of the aleph beis, and neglected to touch up these defects in the font, because he or she either lacked the "eye" or skill, or was lazy.

If you look at the kerning, you will see also that there is no kerning, as certain letter combinations are closer than others. Kerning is a lot of tome consuming work, and the talent to properly kern is not woth every talented type designer. The OpenType font technology can incorporate a table of finely kerned letter pairs on the font, producing perfect work.

Finally, I would strongly suggest to reduce the size (perhaps a point size) of the English text to better match the Hebrew.

Unfortunately there is hardly a matching English font for Hebrew calligraphy or a pseudo-calligraphy invitation font. Notice that both the slant and the sub-conscious eye-movement goes from right-to-left in Hebrew, but in English font for Hebrew calligraphy or a pseudo-calligraphy invitation font. Notice that both the slant and the sub-conscious eye-movement goes from left-to-right.

Soon, I will create a few matching sets of well kerned OpenType Hebrew and English fonts so birthday, bar-mitzvah, and wedding invitations can be printed happily, and we can enjoys fully these simchas (milestone events).

Let me conclude, we can always find fault because everything created lacks perfection. Considering the tools out there, your brother's invitation is stunning.

raphaelfreeman's picture


There are some really nice text fonts, and lots of fun ones, but only two that I’ve seen used on invitations & the like: Meiri (e.g., this site)

Meiri as Sue likes to call it is actually called Ada, which was created by Prof. Ada Yardeni. I believe you can purchase it from www.masterfont.co.il.

raphaelfreeman's picture

Bottom line, there aren't any Hebrew fonts that I know about that even come close to the calligraphic invitation fonts that we are used to in English.

I think the reason for this is that the way Hebrew is written is so fundamentally different to that of English, that the creation of flourished script create a completely different result.

When dealing with block letters, you can put certain fonts together relatively successfully such as David with Times (although I personally hate both of these fonts), or occassionaly you'll find a Hebrew font such as FBOptimum that matches perfect with Optima, but in general, I don't try and match any more.

When creating my own wedding invitation, I had to tone down the complexity of the English font (I think I chose Brioso) so that I could find a complimentary Hebrew font.

joshper's picture

Where could I find those fonts mentioned particularly the yerushalmi font I've been looking everywhere and can't find it. Also I noticed on some new invitations they have some nice new Hebrew calligraphy fonts.

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