Creating a Merger of a Latin and a Non-Latin Font Style

gohebrew's picture

Many have tried and failed to merge Hebrew into English, or vice versa, on the font design level.

After all, a Semetic typeface stresses horizontal scribe-like strokes, and a European style typefac stresses vertical cut metal-like bars. So, how can they be merged successfully.

Gill tried and failed with each experimentation. Others also fell by the wayside.

Finally, Boruch Gorkin (Monotype licensor to MicroSoft and Apple licencees), a brilliant designer in Manhattan of Russian descent (see www,boruchgorkin.com) succeded in part to make a Hebrew version of Monotype's Ariel (weatch out for those Russians).

But Ariel was a sans serif with almost the same stroke widths horizontal and vertical. He based his design upon Tzvi Narkiss' popular Narkiss design, adjusting its stroke width a bit, and height to sit between the x-height of the English lowercase and the top of the English uppercase, and improved upon a bit of Narkiss' design.

But could anyone make a merger in a serif design for Hebrew with varying widths for the horizontal and vertical strokes, and match the overall color of the page in either language?

This blog shows how.

raphaelfreeman's picture

Where did I change my mind?

I posted the Yona and then the final. I think your version looks much closer to the final than the Yona version.

What do others think?

gohebrew's picture

oh, i thought that you have a series of drawings,
a progression of designs
leading up to the final version

you said keren was not the same

and my crown was even father, but was similar to his early drawing

then tzika's kereen was similar but not 100%

so i expected to see a series of drawings
and my crown was like an early version

then an rit drawing would show up
it'd mean your koren evolved from something very old

raphaelfreeman's picture

gohebrew: this conversation is going round in circles. Until you come up with this drawing of yours, this is all conjecture.

Why don't we take a rest from this circular argument until you find your drawing. If it doesn't exist, it will be a difference of opinion.

gohebrew's picture

Well, Raphael, so is your claim that Koren pulled his typeface out of a hat. And the hat he wore to cover his genius.

If he was such a great genius, why did he only make one face. Maybe, you'll refer to his Siddur font with the dorky aleph. Personally, I think the Siddur face reflects the opposite of genius.

Friedlaender never claimed that he had no major influences. He never claimed genius. But his Hadasa was also great.

I think it is much greater than Koren.

About the drawing at RIT, I have no need to find it again. For you - what a joke!

If you want to sue me for Crown, which is more authentic than Koren's with stolen nikkud and lack of acknowledgement of his sources.

Sue. I could use the publicity.

Should I donate it to Microsoft for Office. Bill Gates is becoming a tzaddik goy - he said, the wealthy billionaires should give away 90% of their wealth; the remainder is enough to enjoy the rest of life. Sounds like a tzaddik to me.

gohebrew's picture

Btw your kids are cute.

raphaelfreeman's picture

I don't think he pulled the typeface out of a hat. I think he studied many manuscripts and had a instinct as to what the form of the letter should be. I think he then started to draw letters which he put into Yona. After setting the chapter, he started to turn it into a digital font. I don't think Koren ever claimed he was a genius and I certainly have never made such a claim. You have said he was a genius, these are not my words. There was a study done on the differences between the Siddur font and the Tanakh font by Simon Prais. If you don't like the font, why don't you say that you don't like the font. Why talk about genius and other typographers. If I am critiquing your typeface, I don't prove my point by saying that some other type designer is a friend of mine on facebook. I critique the font based on my opinion.

Who said he only made one face? He made 2 Koren faces, the Tanakh and the Siddur which are quite different (not just the aleph), 3 Rashi faces, and a sans serif face. He also worked on a number of different faces too, but remember what Koren brought to the world wasn't just a few typefaces, but rather his Tanakh which is considered to be the most accurate in the world and his siddurim which again are world-acclaimed for their accuracy. I think you really don't understand what Koren is about.

Please do find the drawing, just for me. Thanks :-)

I've never suggested suing anybody. I've tried to keep the threads on the forum about typography and not about law, or religion or philosophy or anything else. Thanks for the compliment about my kids, but again not appropriate for a forum on typography (unless you think that they resemble some font). That is what facebook is for not typophile.

I think that the original link by William Berkson was posting something that is of interest to people who design fonts and brings up an interesting discussion on what is "okay" and what is not "okay" in the typographic world.

gohebrew's picture

Koren fonts
So far, we saw 3 fonts. You say there are more. Please post samples of them. Do you have drawings of them too?

Was Koren a Genius?
Clearly, he was a very talented and great type professional. His Tanach was a great feat, and people check their texts against it, as I do.

Lost Manuscript
Blee neder, I shall find the lost manuscript at RIT, but it may be in a few years when I go to the Vogel's wedding for Mushka. Rabbi Vogel is from London, and played with diamonds as a kid, when we played with jacks. But only if you post his Rashis. :)

Readability
I contend the Koren font is not readable to the Hebrew reader. To me, it's a no brainer. You site the Israeli reading experts that he went to for advice. That's commendable, but often such experts in Israel just say the opposite that chazal say. So, whoee whoee on them.

Cute kids on Facebook
As one who has no derech eretz, or limud zchus for people who laugh at shmirat shabbat or shmirat kashrut (see Codes of Jewish law regarding when to appy this and when it's assur), I try to instill a sense of personality and warmth her. Type expresses feeling, so we should express feeling.

raphaelfreeman's picture

Yes he did design more. We are currently digitising one of his Rashi's which I like very much. For obvious reasons, I'm hardly going to post them on the internet!

Again, I never contended he was a genius. You keep saying that.

If you don't think the Koren font is readable then that's okay. I'm not offended. I'm just saying what his process was. Whether you (or I for that matter) think it was a good process or not is irrelevant. I'm establishing the evolution of the font from what I posted of the Yona (Jonah) example to what he was finally printed in 1962. I also agree with you on the fact that the Koren font is not as readable as other typefaces at very small font sizes. But then again, if you saw the size of the Koren Tanakh that he printed http://www.korenpub.com/EN/products/tanakh/sifrei_tanakh/9789653010741 you'll see that a small sized Bible was not what he was about!

gohebrew's picture

Impressive web site.

A beatiful klee deserves lots and lots of orders to fill it.

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