Armenotype.com Launch

hrant's picture

http://armenotype.com/

About 12 hours ago Nina Stössinger and I launched a new website about Armenian type (and related fields). She did an amazing job in less than three weeks, and we'd love to see anybody and everybody with even a remote curiosity about the Armenian script check it out, register for the mailing list, and post comments.

BTW, the site was launched on the Armenian diaspora's premiere TV network, Horizon, live on Friday night! Nerve-wracking but very exciting.

hhp

nina's picture

I'll add that even if you don't know much about the Armenian script yet, by all means don't be shy. We're very happy to feature a piece by Carolyn Puzzovio, titled «Type and Culture», that should actually provide an excellent introduction for people new to Armenian type too.

*

Screengrabs from the televised launch (new levels of adrenaline!):



(Sorry for the bad quality; rest assured that text isn't actually rainbow-colored. :-)

Dav's picture

Congratulations on the launch, Hrant and Nina. The site is lookin' good.
(And how great is having the launch featured on TV? Nice.)

Si_Daniels's picture

Congrats. The site looks fantastic!

dezcom's picture

Great News!!! Congratulations on a successful launch and may you get many hits :-)

hrant's picture

Thanks guys!

BTW when I get the DVD copy we can splice in better captures.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

Wonderful! Congratulations, Hrant and Nina.

Nick Shinn's picture

Way to go, Nina & Hrant!

dan_reynolds's picture

Hrant should be on TV more often! He looks so super-badass in those screen captures. I'd like to see the whole segment. Congratulations on the site!

eliason's picture

Congrats, guys!

Bendy's picture

Good for you! Fascinating article on the Armenian alphabet.

nina's picture

Thanks all! It's been wonderful to see the responses.

BTW, forgot to say you can also find us on Twitter (for site updates & such), at @Armenotype.

Jos Buivenga's picture

Great news, guys. Congrats to you both!

dezcom's picture

Great job on the web site, Nina!

nina's picture

Thanks, Chris. (And all)

5star's picture

Congrats! Looks crazy coolio!

I'll have lots of fun learning all about the letter shapes through your site :)

hrant's picture

Thanks for all the warm words!

Dan: it's the shirt.

hhp

Simon Robertson's picture

This is awesome guys, well done! :-)

hrant's picture

(Sorry, not quite ready... :-)

hhp

hrant's picture

(OK, here we go...)

Dan, ask and you shall receive. ;-)
http://armenotype.com/2010/10/live-tv-launch-video/
Thanks again to Nina's hard work processing/subtitling* the
live launch of Armenotype.com on Horizon TV three weeks ago,
in a manner both subtly innovative and solidly functional.

* Using the Bold weight of my Mana-13, tracked looser by
one pixel. http://www.themicrofoundry.com/manademo/

hhp

Jan's picture

Very cool. Great collab.

quadibloc's picture

I recently added a silly little page to my own web site, at

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/ascint.htm

in which I propose a radical reform of ASCII to make it safe for the Armenian script, among other things.

In the diagram at the bottom of the page, you can even see the new Indian rupee symbol, which I learned about from this forum.

hrant's picture

Interesting idea to split the UC and lc between lower and upper ASCII!

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

Well done Hrant and Nina!!!

dezcom's picture

How do the twins like your new site, Hrant?

hrant's picture

They're drooling over it!

hhp

dezcom's picture

:-)

hrant's picture

FYI, a revamped Fonts section with a new showcased font:
http://armenotype.com/2010/11/showcase-calouste/

hhp

hrant's picture

An interesting development:
In a bit of fortunate timing, a competition and conference
have been launched to honor innovation, technology use
and good design among Armenian Websites.

The first phase of the competition is a popular vote, so we
need your help to get to phase two! Please take a moment
to vote for Armenotype here: http://tinyurl.com/2dhzkdq

And please tell others to do the same! With everybody's
help, and if phase two goes well, we'll convey the passion
for the Armenian script to as many people as possible.

Thank you.

hhp

joeclark's picture

There’s no excuse for a navbar made up of images, let alone images without alt text.

nina's picture

Hi, Joe. The alt text is on my to-do list. As I said on Armenotype I'm quite aware that some things aren't solved optimally yet. Honestly though, I would rather live with a navbar with images with no alt texts for a bit than not have the website up.

hrant's picture

Joe, that sounds like a rust-belt bumper sticker.

> than not have the website up.

Zzzactly. Especially since this is a non-commercial venture, not to
mention that the launch deadline was determined ~1600 years ago. :-)

hhp

hrant's picture

BTW, I forgot to point out a good reason for having the buttons as graphics: as mentioned in the colophon* they're set in Mana**, a handmade grayscale bitmapfont. Now, if I end up making a webfont of that...

* http://armenotype.com/colophon/

** http://www.themicrofoundry.com/manademo/

hhp

Dan Gayle's picture

Very nice website! I'd love to see a site about the LATIN alphabet presented as nicely.

dezcom's picture

Dan, check out that column for that Trajan guy. It is pretty old--school but still cool. ;-)

Simon Robertson's picture

voted :-)

hrant's picture

Thanks in part to Nina's technical wizardry in implementing an elegant and robust multi-lingual mechanism, we now have our first article in Armenian, and English:
http://armenotype.com/2010/11/remembering-the-mekhitarists/?lang=hy
http://armenotype.com/2010/11/remembering-the-mekhitarists/
Enjoy!

hhp

dezcom's picture

Bravo to both of you, even if Nina did the hard work ;-)

hrant's picture

Don't forget the translator! (Actually two of them - the other
one requested anonymity - she ordered chocolates instead. :-)

hhp

dezcom's picture

Anyone who orders chocolate automatically goes to the top of my list! :-)

hrant's picture

After an inexcusably long dormancy (my fault 100%) there's now some new material:
http://armenotype.com/2012/04/archipelago/
http://armenotype.com/2012/04/ernestine-vem/
Check the Gallery too.

And there's more in the pipeline...

hhp

quadibloc's picture

A typeface based on the "Bolorgir" traditional pattern is noted as something you did before you knew any better... but typefaces that are heavily Latinized aren't right either.

Many people here will understand what you're getting at, but naïve readers of that article will be perplexed - because if one doesn't imitate "world culture", what else is left but to stand solidly on authentic historical tradition?

Of course, the answer is to draw on authentic historical roots - but not be chained to them. To be original. To look elsewhere - to Japan, to the Arab world, to Ethiopia, to Greece - for inspiration, not just to United States mass culture. But that has to be said, as it's not something everyone will guess or understand.

hrant's picture

John, thanks for reading it!

I guess (or at least hope) it will get people (no matter their background) thinking. I should point out that it's in the Opinion section, which might excuse its relative opacity.

Also, there's room for comments after the essay. Please feel free to state your critique there... which would give me a great opportunity to elaborate! :-)

hhp

hrant's picture

Thank you!

I'll give others time to hopefully chime in, then I will.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Of course, the answer is to draw on authentic historical roots

One way to do that is to look at pre-typographic text culture and, in effect, move forward from there along new lines. This is especially fruitful in the case of scripts that have been ill served by the technical limitations of previous font and typesetting technologies, or which have ossified in their typographic form as a result of having too few type designs available for too long (which seems to have been the case with the Armenian bolorgir style).

We're very fortunate in the case of Armenian that there is such a good palaeographic study of the script. I wish every script I worked with had such a resource!

quadibloc's picture

On a scale of 1 to 10, or however one wishes to put it, though, except for the fact of being a script with a small number of users (and hence a small number of type designers), I don't think Armenian faces severe problems.

Of course, balancing "Armenian-ness" defined, however incorrectly, as a resemblance to Bolorgir (the weighted sans-serif type with the really small x-height and slanted lowercase, for those who don't want to look it up) with Latin typeface conventions is a challenge. But it's simply a stylistic void that invites designers to propose solutions.

On the other hand, properly implementing the calligraphic rules of Arabic stretches the limits of current electronic font technology.

Ethiopic doesn't have a fundamental technical problem, but the character set is large enough that the forms of some of the elements of its syllabary were compromised to allow the language to be typed on an ordinary typewriter. So while fonts for the language don't require sophisticated character to glyph mapping, keyboards may need work. (Think of Chinese or Korean input methods.)

Even Greek - which has a larger (and more economically prosperous, at least until recently) community of users than Armenian - has, in my opinion, a more serious problem than Armenian. It, too, was under Turkish rule for a long time, leading to Greek typography being done chiefly by foreigners. And so we have the effects of Porson Greek on the script.

Greek capital letters, like those of Cyrillic, fit the standard Latin paradigm just fine. But capitals and lower case were basically not integrated at all in Porson Greek. While most modern typefaces do better at this, this, in my opinion, is a very basic stylistic issue which, so far, does not seem to be addressed in a satisfactory manner outside of sans-serif faces.

In the case of the Latin alphabet, Bembo, Caslon, Garamond, Bodoni, Baskerville, Century Expanded, Caledonia and Times Roman can be said to all resoundingly embody pretty well the same basic answer to the question "What should the Latin alphabet look like".

So much so, that perhaps the Latin alphabet is more ossified than Armenian, at least at present, despite the effects of Bolorgir. It's a good thing we have a solution that makes everyone happy, though - and the Latin alphabet, being so widely used, does get lots of experimental designs being done for it.

hrant's picture

Still trying to catch up with the interesting posts above... which is going to be harder since there's now another article up!
http://armenotype.com/2012/08/the-armenian-language-dilemma/

hhp

quadibloc's picture

An interesting article.

When I look at the Republic of Ireland, and see how many - or, rather, how few - people there can speak Gaelic, I can't be optimistic.

The bar mitzvah makes Hebrew, as an aspect of Jewish identity, something of an exception. (On the other hand, Yiddish is apparently dying out.)

A fraction of the younger generation, at any given moment, will simply not see it worth the effort to maintain a language skill without immediate economic relevance.

This is true even in a place like Canada, where assimilation is not as strongly encouraged as in the United States.

Still, I suppose that's just a reason to redouble one's efforts, not to give up.

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