Tag Archives: Turkish

Orthographic Tourism

When visiting another country, the visual and typographic culture infects me. The types of lettering used, from stone names above hundred-year old buildings, to flashy billboard headlines, and the letter frequencies wildly diverging from English, conspire in my brain to generate a new typeface. Ljubljana and Breuckelen are both products of this process.

Part of the motivation for the varied destinations on this trip was to push this process in new directions. Even Greece, which I ended up skipping for various reasons, was chosen partly because they use yet another alphabet there. My typeface instigated by Chinese, Zenith, is little more than a gimmick, but it’s a good one. And then Turkey totally surprised me with a powerful, bold, high x-height, sans-serif face. Upon arriving in Hungary, I was suprised to find that the as-yet-untitled Turkish face fits here very well.

I’ll be digitizing these new faces when I get back.

Bulgaria, the first Cyrillic-using place that I’ve traveled, really threw me for a loop. After pages and pages of sketches, nothing has materialized yet, and it might never.

My fascination with Cyrillic is really a flip side of the East’s fascination with English, or even the West’s fascination with Chinese or Japanese tattoos. A different, mysterious set of symbols that can produce sounds in a person’s head, just like your alphabet can, is fascinating, at least until you learn it well enough for its operation to become unconscious.

Luckily there are more alphabets, and countries, to visit, and to learn.